July 2018

Jailed: Oswestry man sexually abused boy in church for four years

A former library volunteer from Oswestry has been jailed for two years and nine months, after indecently assaulting a boy in church almost every week for four years.

Christopher Moore-Bridger, 77, admitted touching his victim on an almost weekly basis at the church in Oswestry they both attended, and on day trips to a sister church in Bridlington.

The boy was in the church choir and was targeted by Moore-Bridger before and after services and choir practice between 1986 and 1990.

The victim killed himself earlier this year aged 41.

Moore-Bridger, of Orchard Street in Oswestry, was sentenced at Shrewsbury Crown Court after pleading guilty to five counts of indecent assault.

The offences took place when the victim was between 10 and 13 years old. The court heard that after suffering years of abuse, the boy told his parents about the crimes when he was 17 years old. He later complained that they didn’t believe him.

He reported it to police in August 2016, after a chance encounter with Moore-Bridger on a bus. In interviews Moore-Bridger denied any wrongdoing, and in February of this year he pleaded not guilty. He changed his plea in June.

Nigel Stelling, prosecuting, said: “Sadly it is now known that the boy was seriously affected by what happened to him at the hands of this defendant. He suffered throughout his adult life with mental health difficulties and during periods of crisis he referred to what happened in conversation with nursing staff.”

Mr Stelling made clear that the victim suffered from bipolar disorder and that it would never be ascertained how much of a role in his death the crimes of Moore-Bridger played.

The court heard a statement from the victim made shortly before his death, which said that he was ‘angry at the world’ and angry at his parents for not believing him. He said that when Moore-Bridger pleaded not guilty it shook him and he became wracked with doubts.

Representing Moore-Bridger, Adrian Roberts said he had been a helpful and generous member of the church community.

Judge Anthony Lowe summed up the case and sentenced Moore-Bridger to two years and nine months in jail for the earliest offences, and an identical concurrent sentence for the other four charges.