Portsmouth paedophile choirmaster Mark Burgess launches appeal bid after being jailed for 40 years

A PREDATORY paedophile choirmaster jailed for 40 years is appealing his convictions for abusing 13 children.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 12:32 pm

Pervert Mark Burgess, 68, was found guilty of 48 offences at Portsmouth Crown Court where he was told he must serve at least 21 years.

But now the Court of Appeal has confirmed it has received his bid to clear his name.

One survivor of Burgess, who abused children as young as seven in Portsmouth, told The News his appeal showed his ‘arrogance and complete lack of empathy’.

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Mark Burgess at Portsmouth Cathedral. Picture: Allan Hutchings (085031-149)

He said: ‘His appeal is because he doesn’t want to be in prison. He doesn’t think he’s guilty. It’s another way of trying to call us liars.

‘Hopefully it won’t go anywhere and he will just go home to his little cell thinking “why me, why me, why me” - and he can think about that for a good 21 years.’

Burgess was branded a ‘calculated manipulator’ who swore vulnerable children to silence after warning them ‘not to tell anyone’.

He carried out decades of abuse while a teacher at Portsmouth City Boys’ School and when running choirs at St John’s Church in Westbourne and All Saints Church in Commercial Road.

During his 11-week trial he shifted blame to others and outright denied the allegations brought by 12 boys and one girl between the 1970s and 2000s.

But the survivor who spoke out today said he would go through the trial all again if it was needed.

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‘If it came to it I would go and speak again and speak against him,’ he said. ‘I’ve done it once and I can do it again.

‘Hopefully it won’t have to come to that - I think we all need to just keep standing and showing a strong front.’

The reasons for amateur musician Burgess’ appeal are not yet public. A single senior judge will assess its merits before deciding if a full hearing is needed.

Burgess betrayed no indication of regret or remorse when he was sentenced, the survivor said.

‘He just sat there completely stone-faced - he showed no emotion whilst he was sitting there.

‘When we got up and read our statement to him he just sat there most of the time looking angry, shaking his head. He wouldn’t make eye contact with anybody.’

The man added: ‘For him, he’s had 40 odd years of doing this, getting his sexual gratification. He now has 40 years to think about that.

‘I’m sure if he had the opportunity he would still be a danger.’

He said he believes there are more people who suffered Burgess’ abuse, but said safeguarding systems now often stop perpetrators like him.

Burgess, of St Chad’s Avenue, Hilsea, denied the charges against him.

He was found guilty of 26 charges of indecent assault, 15 of gross indecency with a child, four of buggery, two of sexual activity with a child and one attempted indecent assault.

Burgess was found not guilty of a single charge of indecent assault.

Jurors were directed by a judge to find him not guilty on three charges after they were dropped by the prosecution in the trial.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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