A WOMAN who was subjected to repeated indecent assaults by a former chaplain to the Queen when she was a teenager has told of her relief at seeing him jailed.
Canon Stephen Palmer abused the girl at his home provided by the Church of England when he was assistant curate at Holy Rood in Stubbington in the mid-1970s.
I feel relieved as he’s told me so many times that nobody would believe me and I couldn’t do anything about it. I have done something about it – I has been believed by the juryCanon Stephen Palmer’s victim
Portsmouth Crown Court heard on each time the 68-year-old abused her – once pushing her against the stairs making her fear she would be raped – he told her no-one would believe her.
But a jury did, finding him guilty of six counts of indecent assault and Palmer is now in prison at the start of a 39-month stretch.
Speaking exclusively to The News, his victim, aged 17 at the time of the assaults, said: ‘I think it was very unlikely I was the only victim.
‘I do hope that as it’s published and known about, others may come forward.’
The court heard Palmer assaulted her after the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, came to his home for religious study tuition.
Palmer had denied any wrongdoing, forcing the victim, now 57, and her mother, 89, to give evidence.
He denied even knowing her but a bible he awarded her – addressed to her and signed by him – proved otherwise.
Speaking about the impact of the assault, the victim added: ‘It’s stayed with me ever since.
‘I’ve never been back to join a church, I didn’t like going in. I just see a vicar and think about it.’
But now she hopes she can put the abuse, carried out in 1975 and 1976, behind her.
She added: ‘I feel relieved as he’s told me so many times that nobody would believe me and I couldn’t do anything about it.
‘I have done something about it – I have been believed by the jury.’
The court heard no other accusations of abuse have arisen but the judge said he did indecently assault another girl when the victim was present.
That allegation is not part of any of the charges.
Recorder Nigel Lickley QC said: ‘You have shown or expressed little remorse. You accept the jury’s verdict but that’s as far as it goes.’
He said the victim’s trust in clergy had been destroyed by Palmer, who has no previous convictions.
Palmer, now of Fintry Schoolhouse, Fintry, Aberdeen, was convicted of six counts of indecent assault in 1975 and 1976.
He is a former vicar of Christ Church, Portsdown Hill. He served eight years in the navy. Palmer was then assistant curate at Holy Rood, Stubbington, between 1974 and 1977, and chaplain to the Bishop of Portsmouth for another three years.
Pierce Power, defending, said Palmer faced humiliation from the conviction, adding: ‘For him that’s perhaps the worst punishment, that his standing within the community, his high standard, high regard, is now gone.’