Trial of former priest delayed

The trial of a former Church of England priest accused of sexual assaults on young boys has been delayed until later this year.

Lincoln Crown Court
Lincoln Crown Court

Father Terence Atkinson, 70, has denied offences against seven different complainants over a 21 year period.

He was formerly involved with St John’s and St Stephen’s Church Centre, which is now known as the Shalom Youth Project, on the East Marsh estate in Grimsby.

His trial was due to begin at Lincoln Crown Court on Monday, October 10.

However, a hearing at the same court was today (Thursday) told that date is now unavailable due to a lack of court time and the potential impact of strike action by the Criminal Bar Association.

Father Atkinson, who was excused attending the hearing by Judge Simon Hirst, will now go on trial at Lincoln Crown Court on December 5.

The trial is expected to last more than a week.

Atkinson, of Tetney Road, Humberston, had previously pleaded not guilty to a total of 13 charges of indecent assault on a male person at a court appearance in February 2021.

The charges relate to different dates between November 1978 and November 1999.

During an earlier court appearance, Atkinson had pleaded not guilty to five counts of the same charge.

The charges arise from a Lincolnshire Police investigation into historic sexual abuse allegations within the Diocese of Lincoln known as Operation Redstone.

Father Atkinson also served at St Francis Church in Cleethorpes and at St Andrew's Church in Albion Street, Grimsby.

He was invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in July 2009 to acknowledge his service to the community as a Church of England priest.

He was also the chaplain to the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Sea Cadets Corps from 2006.