A PRIEST who sexually abused a boy at Bolton and Atherton vicarages has been described as an “animal” by his victim after being jailed for three years.

Frank Baldwick appeared at Manchester Crown Court today to be sentenced for offences that dated back to his time as Church of England vicar at St Michael’s Great Lever and then of St Anne’s Hindsford, Atherton, in the late 1970s. 

His co-defendant Barry Arthurs, aged 55 and now living in Blackpool, earlier pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual assault and was jailed for four years to be served concurrently.

Speaking after the hearing, their victim said: “I’m just glad these animals are locked up.”

Baldwick was found guilty in August of two counts of indecent assault against his victim, who was aged between 11 and 13 at the time of the attacks and cannot be named for legal reasons.

The court heard how the now 91-year-old – who was in his his early 50s at the time of the assaults – bought the boy food and soft drinks.

The court also heard how Arthurs, who was six years older than the victim, would take the younger boy to see the vicar and that Arthurs had also indecently assaulted the boy during a five year period.

On one of these occasions the court heard that Arthurs had spotted the victim out on his bike with a puncture.

Alison Mather, prosecuting, described to the court how Arthurs had returned with an expensive inner tube for the boy’s bike.

She told the court the pair had ridden off down a back road and the boy was taken to a property in Atherton.

She added that the victim had described seeing Baldwick, who had shown him pornographic images before indecently assaulting him.

The assaults only came to light after the victim – who was in court for the sentencing – spoke of the abuse during a counselling session in 2013

In mitigation, it was alleged that Arthurs, who himself was a teenager at the time the assaults took place, was also a victim of Baldwick’s and at the time of the incidents had been struggling with his own sexuality.

Passing sentence Judge Elliot Knopf described the attacks as a ‘significant breach of trust’, adding: “It leaves me with no alternative than to impose an immediate custodial sentence.”

Baldwick, now of Lady Bay Road, West Bridgeford, Nottingham, was sentenced to three years for the two counts to be served concurrently.