A pedophile ex-vicar has been downloading sick photos of young children while living in a luxury apartment with the blessing of the Church of England.
For the past three years pedophile former reverend Paul Battersby has been living in one of Liverpool’s most desirable developments, Beetham Tower, paid for with his pension from the church.
Liverpool Echo reports:
Former reverend Paul Battersby repeatedly downloaded sick photographs of young children being molested by fellow perverts.
But for the last three years he has lived in Beetham Tower – one of Liverpool’s most desirable developments in Old Hall Street.
Yet the ex-Church of England national youth officer had the audacity to MOAN about his home and compare his circumstances to prison.
Battersby, 68, was jailed for 20 months after a court heard he spent his time in the flat amassing a disturbing collection of illegal files.
He downloaded 1,730 indecent images of children and extreme animal porn, then wrote a twisted child sex abuse fantasy starring himself.
Prosecutors said perhaps “equally worrying” was the discovery of a shoebox full of children’s clothes, stashed in his high-rise apartment.
Peter Turner, defending, said his client – estranged from his two ex-wives and two children – was “incredibly lonely” in the swanky pad.
The solicitor told Liverpool Crown Court: “He describes living in a small flat the Church of England have rented for him and funded.
“It’s effectively in an office block. He sees very few people. He sees friends occasionally and his sister visits on a regular basis.
“He says it’s not far off the life he would have if he was in prison.”
Battersby, who served in the ministry for 31 years, was first caught with a horrifying movie of a girl being raped in 2007.
He was turned in by his wife after his 17-year-old stepson spotted shocking images and videos on the family’s computer.
The pervert, who led a congregation in Leyland, was spared prison in 2008 and told to attend a sex offenders’ programme.
Battersby, who taught chemistry in Liverpool before training for the church, then moved into his sister’s home in Bebington, Wirral.
He soon bought a laptop and within months was using it to access 160 obscene images using the pseudonym ‘Tanker’.
Officers raided his sister’s home in 2009. He confessed and was jailed for eight months in 2010, then released and moved into the plush pad.
Mr Turner said Battersby – who had destroyed some of his computers with a screwdriver – “relapsed and relapsed”, yet wanted help.
The solicitor said his client had voluntarily sought help for his problems from Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust this year.
He said any future sex offender treatment programmes he attended would likely also be funded by the Church of England.
Beetham Tower is a 133-apartment, 29-storey luxury tower block, lying next to Beetham’s West Tower – Liverpool’s tallest building – and the Radisson Blu Hotel.
One bedroom studio apartments sell for around £110,000, with rental rates of £650 a month, while a two-bedroom alternative can cost £165,000, or £1,050 per month.
Features include Mersey River views, a 24-hour concierge plus full leisure facilities – gym, sauna, steam jacuzzi and swimming pool – on the ground floor.
A Church of England spokesman said: “It is a matter of deep shame and regret that Paul Battersby has re-offended.
“Downloading indecent images of children is far from a victimless crime – we recognise this as a serious form of child abuse, which can have lifelong effects on victims.
“We apologise unreservedly for the harm that this will have caused.
“The Church of England Pensions Board houses retired members of the clergy who have a minimum number of years of stipendiary service, and who have insufficient financial means to provide retirement housing for themselves.
“It typically houses people in two-bedroomed properties in more affordable areas – and charges rent on a similar basis to social housing rents.
“In any case where disclosure is made about a criminal history, or the person comes to the Pensions Board on leaving a custodial sentence, the Board works very closely with the managing agencies (for example, the probation service or the police) to ensure that the housing it provides meets the restrictions set for that individual.
“That happened in this particular case.”