Jailed: retired Stoke Newington vicar who abused choirboy

St Matthias Church in Stoke Newington

Scene of the crimes: St Matthias Church in Stoke Newington. Photograph: David Anstiss, Creative Commons

A retired vicar has been jailed for four years for sexually abusing a choirboy at St Matthias Church.

Cyril Ashton Rowe, 78, assaulted the boy, who was aged nine at the time of the first offence, between 1979 and 1981.

The victim, who suffered from a degenerative illness, gave evidence at the trial by blinking. He tragically died on the same day Rowe was found guilty in February – before he could hear the verdict.

Detective Sergeant Hannah Stewart said: “It was extremely traumatic for the victim to relive his ordeal after so many years.

“Through his brave determination, his evidence – given to detectives during hours of meticulous interviews, and at court – enabled the conviction of Rowe for these serious sexual offences.

“This conviction is a fitting tribute to the courage of the victim, who sadly died during these proceedings.”

Rowe was sentenced today at Bournemouth Crown Court.