A FORMER school chaplain from Frinton has been jailed for sexually abusing two pupils 40 years ago.

Father Edward Phillips-Smith abused two boys while he was chaplain at St Peter’s Collegiate School, in Wolverhampton, in the early 1980s.

Phillips-Smith, 73, was known as Father Eddie by the pupils, who used to “sit on his knee and he would tickle them”, Oxford Crown Court heard on Friday.

He sexually abused two boys on one date in the early 1980s.

The defendant pleaded guilty to one charge of indecent assault on a male and two counts of indecency with a child at a previous hearing.

Phillips-Smith was arrested on May 18, 2023, and answered no comment to all questions.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Sex Offender - Father Edward Phillips-SmithSex Offender - Father Edward Phillips-Smith (Image: Essex Police)

One of the victims, who cannot legally be named, said: “He was the chaplain, a religious education teacher and supposedly someone a pupil at the school should be able to trust and have a child’s best interests at heart.

“I’ve come to realise this was far from the case and it was only his interests that he cared about.

“I’ve spent 40 years trying to make excuses, pretending it doesn’t matter, that it will go away, but it never does.

“Did he ever consider the implications of his actions on us as his victims?

“He called himself Father but he’s no man of god. He is a coward, still refusing to answer for his actions.”

Lucy Tapper, defending, said: “It is right that Mr Edward Phillips-Smith has sought to plead guilty at the earliest opportunity and avoided a trial and further distress for the victims.

“There is genuine remorse expressed by Mr Phillips-Smith, although he has difficulty recollecting the specifics. There has been no repetition.”

Phillips-Smith, of Frinton, was sentenced to 32 months in prison, given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and put on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely.

Judge Ian Pringle KC said: “You were widely loved by the pupils of that school, you were funny, you were not as strict as some of the other masters and the boys loved being with you, because you made them laugh and they sat on your knee and you tickled them.”

The judge detailed the abuse and said: “That episode has never left the victim, that never will, and you as a teacher were in a position of absolute trust with that young boy and you abused that trust.”