Former priest declared “dangerous” sex offender

A defrocked Church of England priest living in Skipton has been declared a dangerous sex offender while in prison for four years.

Paul Clifford Battersby, 72, was appearing before York Crown Court for evading police surveillance and for his fourth round of offenses involving indecent images of children.

Prosecutor Lucy Brown said some of the young people pictured in the footage were only two years old.

Battersby had used computer erasure software to delete evidence of its online activities despite being prohibited from doing so under a Sexual Injury Prevention Order (SHPO) and a special type of browser.

“You say you want to change,” Judge Simon Hickey told Battersby. “I find that difficult to accept, given, in my opinion, your deeply ingrained behavior.

“You are deliberately ignoring any court order and trying to rehabilitate yourself. ”

Declaring a dangerous offender, the judge said: “I am completely satisfied with the evidence presented to me – these offenses and the deliberate manner in which they were committed and the offenses committed on three other occasions – you will continue. committing serious harm through the commission of other specified offenses.

Reinforcing existing restrictions imposed by the court in Battersby, the judge ordered him to cooperate if police wanted him to pass a lie detector test.

Battersby, twice married, formerly of Blackburn and more recently of Spencer Walk, Skipton, pleaded guilty to three offenses of having indecent images of children and one of each of having extreme pornography, of having prohibited images of children and violating a sexual harm prevention order.

He held his face in his hands as he was sentenced to seven years in prison extended by four years in prison plus three years of extended prison license. For the rest of his life, he will be on the sex offender registry, banned from working or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults, and subject to a Sexual Injury Prevention Order.

The Church of England expelled him from his priesthood after his first sexual conviction. He had been a pastor in Lancashire and, at one point, a senior officer on the Social Responsibility Council of the Diocese of Blackburn.

His attorney Helen Chapman said: “There is little to be said about his behavior as a mitigation.”

Battersby had pleaded guilty and wanted to do sex offender rehabilitation work in prison.

He was homeless when he was released from his last sentence and was eventually “housed in Skipton,” she said.

He didn’t know anyone nearby.

Ms Brown said North Yorkshire Police made an unannounced surveillance visit to Battersby’s home on October 6, 2020 and found a USB drive containing extreme pornography.

A search of her home and computer equipment uncovered 201 different images of the worst forms of child abuse, 83 in the middle category and 319 in the less serious category. There were 205 prohibited images, nine extreme videos, and 13 extreme pornographic images.

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