Former Sussex vicar jailed for string of historical sex offences

A former Church of England priest has been jailed for eight years for a number of sexual offences in Sussex during the 1970s and 1980s.

Meirion Griffiths, formerly of Coachwood Way, Maddington, Perth, Western Australia was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court yesterday (Friday, 21).

Police said the 81-year-old was convicted last month of indecent assault against a girl, then in her late teens, in the 1970’s, involving multiple occasions.

He was also convicted of indecent assault against a woman, then in her mid-twenties, in 1982.

He was found not guilty of two counts of indecent assault, one against each of the women, according to officers.

All the offences took place in Chichester or other nearby locations in West and East Sussex.

DC Jo French said:

“This abuse has clearly had a profound impact on both victims ever since.

“Griffiths, by virtue of his position as local vicar, came to know them quite separately, and gained their confidence in order to systematically abuse their trust in him for his own sexual gratification.

“Both victims came forward quite independently five years ago, having finally found the resolve to come forward to seek justice.

“They have supported our investigation and gave evidence at both trials. We admire their resilience and courage in coming forward and doing so.

“The abuse against the girl only stopped when she moved away, and the abuse against the woman stopped only when Griffiths left for another parish outside Sussex in 1982.

“Griffiths eventually emigrated to Western Australia in 1988.

“It was there that he was arrested on an extradition warrant in November 2017 as a result of our investigation, and he was finally extradited to the UK in January 2019 to face trial.”

Police said they had full co-operation from the Chichester Diocese of the Church of England.

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