Former priest from Ireland jailed for historical abuse of young boys in London

Former priest from Ireland jailed for historical abuse of young boys in London

A FORMER priest from Ireland has been jailed following an investigation into the non-recent sexual abuse of young boys in London in the 1970s and 1980s.

In February, 77-year-old James Murphy, of The Alders, Mallow, Co. Cork pleaded guilty to seven offences of indecent assault relating to four victims.

At Inner London Crown Court on Monday, he was sentenced to 31 months behind bars.

The court also heard Murphy had previous convictions for 11 counts of indecent assault against five boys in 1977.

"Murphy used his position of power as a priest to prey on and take advantage of young boys — and some of their lives have been swathed with despair and anger, ridden with frustration and pain," said PC Helen French from the Met Police.

Trusted figurehead

Murphy's offending against the four victims — aged between five and 11 years old at the time — took place between 1975 and 1988.

In 2019, one of his victims contacted their local police station and an investigation was launched.

Officers established that Murphy's offending was much wider, with some offences taking place at the church and in the wider community in Sydenham where Murphy was a trusted figurehead.

Officers built a rapport with four victims to gather vital evidence, including witness statements, where victims often recounted painful and difficult details.

Officers also contacted relatives of the victims and identified other potential witnesses who also attended the church at the time of the offending.

Murphy accepted his guilt when presented with the evidence put together by officers (Image: Met Police)

The investigation, carried out by specialist officers, also used historic reports, diary entries and psychologist's reports.

On two occasions during the Covid pandemic, Met officers travelled to Ireland to interview Murphy, with the assistance of gardaí.

In interviews, he accepted his guilt when presented with the evidence put together by officers.

However, he denied one of the accusations relating to one of the victims.

Detectives understood how important it was for this victim's story to be heard and worked to build further evidence and disprove Murphy's lies.


PC French praised Murphy's victims for coming forward and hoped it would encourage other victims of historical abuse to report it, irrespective of the passage of time.

"I want to acknowledge the bravery of the victims, whose courage has been unwavering throughout this process," she said.

"Coming forward is not only a tribute to their strength, but serves as a sign to any other victims that they will be listened to and supported."

She added: "I'd like to thank the dedicated team of officers who helped secure justice — their dedication has been extraordinary.

"I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of abuse, to come forward and get the help they so rightly deserve."