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Retired cleric jailed for 19 years for sex crimes

26 November 2021

ALAMY/PA

Pictured in 1998, Richard Landall leaves the Court Martial Centre at Aldershot after being cleared of sexually assaulting the wife of a soldier

Pictured in 1998, Richard Landall leaves the Court Martial Centre at Aldershot after being cleared of sexually assaulting the wife of a soldier

A RETIRED clergyman has been jailed for up to 19 years, after he was convicted of a series of non-recent sexual-abuse offences.

Richard Landall, 64, of Lowther Street, Penrith, was seen as a “pillar of the community” and a “good Christian”. He served as Chaplain to the Combined Forces, in the Army, from 1992 to 1999, and then as an incumbent in Guildford (1999-2001) and Sheffield dioceses.

Durham Crown Court heard that he used his position to abuse three girls. A complaint was first made in 2004, but he denied it, and the case was dropped.

More recently, another complainant reported that Landall had abused her while he was studying for ordination at St John’s College, Durham, in the late 1980s. His case was reopened. In 2013, a third victim reported assaults.

After an eight-day trial at Durham Crown Court, Landall was convicted of 12 offences; and last week he was given an extended determinate sentence followed by a four-year licence period. He must serve at least two-thirds of the sentence — 12 years and eight months — before being considered for parole.

He was also made the subject of a lifelong Sexual Harm Prevention Order and restraining orders and has been registered as a sex offender. The hearing was told that Landall remains in denial. A pre-sentence report said that he poses “a high risk of serious sexual and emotional harm to children”.

Passing sentence, Judge James Adkin said: “You behaved as a sinister, extremely manipulative sexual predator, and I have seen no evidence your proclivities have changed.”

The court heard that, while he was serving in the army, a court martial cleared him of sexually assaulting the wives of colleagues.

Landall told one young victim that God would be happy with her, and, because he was a clergyman, what he did was “God’s will”.

After the hearing, Detective Constable Claire Trewick of Durham Police, said: “The women, one of whom was just four years old at the time, have been incredibly brave in giving evidence — something which they would have been spared if Landall had not arrogantly refused to accept his crimes. He has continued to lack any remorse.”

After the complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure in 2013, the Bishops’ Disciplinary Tribunal for Sheffield diocese barred him from working with children and vulnerable adults.

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