Former Aylesbury Catholic Priest accused of sexually assaulting children

Father Francis McDermott
Father Francis McDermott

Two people accusing a former Catholic priest of sexually assaulting them when they were children in the 1970s have told how he “homed in” on them.

Francis McDermott, aged 75, now of Bideford in Devon but who moved between London, Aylesbury and High Wycombe in the 1970's, is charged with 18 counts of indecent assault, four counts of indecent assault on a male person, two counts of indecency with a child, one count of buggery and one count of rape. The former Priest denies the charges.

In evidence given at Aylesbury Crown Court yesterday, a man who says he was abused when was aged between 11 and 13 described how the priest began abusing him and “introduced him to sex”.

The man told the court how he had been groomed by McDermott.

When it was suggested by Patrick Hill QC, defence, that the complainant was just after compensation, the man responded: “I'm surprised at your question – that has never entered my head.”

Later in the hearing, a woman, now in her 50s, said that she was abused by the priest between the ages of 13 and 15.

Speaking of her ordeal, she said she was in her school uniform when he sexually assaulted her, adding, “I didn't understand what was happening.”

She also said that when McDermott discovered she was going on a date with a boy, he called her a derogatory name.

Another witness told the court that she discovered McDermott in bed with two children and was told “go downstairs, you shouldn't be in here”.

The trial continues.