January 2012

Choral singer jailed for child sex offences

A CHORAL singer from Liskeard has been jailed for three years after being convicted of sexually abusing children as far back as the 1970s.

Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC, said Geoffrey Boxall, 71, was a lay reader and member of the congregation at St Martin’s Church in Liskeard, as well as a member of Callington Singers and the St Ive Choral Society.

He was jailed for three years at Truro Crown Court on Friday for the historic sexual abuse of a young boy in the mid-1970s and a teenage girl in the early 1990s.

Boxall admitted earlier gross indecency during the same time period.

The judge told Boxall, who lived on Pike Street: “This is a desperately sad case which has had a very serious effect upon your victims.”

Prosecutor Edward Bailey revealed that in 1976 Boxall had been placed on probation for indecently assaulting a girl.

Defence counsel Barrie van den Berg said that by pleading guilty Boxall had saved his victims the trauma of reliving their experiences in court, and the offences had not involved any coercion or threats.

Describing Boxall’s behaviour as “appalling”, the judge imposed an indefinite sexual offences prevention order and he must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Duncan Jackaman, chairman of the Callington Singers, said Boxall had been a member of the group for more than five years and he was unaware he had previously been placed on probation.

Mr Jackaman said he knew Boxall well and he had toured with the group, but no one had any idea about his behaviour.

Mayor of Liskeard Nick Mallard said: “It comes as a shock to me and I’m sure it will to many in the town, particularly those involved with him through the church or his other activities. It’s a total, total shock.

“If anyone ever has any suspicions about anything like that, obviously one has to contact the appropriate authorities.”

However, a spokesman for the Diocese of Truro rebutted the claims made by the judge.

He said: “Geoffrey Boxall is definitely not a reader in the Church of England, nor has he ever been a lay minister or, to the best of our knowledge, held any other C of E preaching or Parochial Church Council posts.

“He is not – and never has been – an official member of the congregation (on the electoral roll) at St Martin’s Church, Liskeard. He has, however, attended some evening services during the past few months; but with the full knowledge of the parish priest.

The Reverend Canon Tony Ingleby, of St Martin’s Church, said Mr Boxall took no place in the leading of worship but attended evening services.

“We’ve been aware of the situation and he’s had no access to children,” he said.