77 year old James Murphy, of The Alders Mallow, County Cork, Ireland has been sentenced at Inner London Crown Court.

Murphy pleaded guilty to seven offences of indecent assault relating to four victims aged between five and 11 years old.

The offending took place between 1975 and 1988.

Father James held posts at churches in Sydenham, New Addington, South Croydon and Streatham.

The court also heard Murphy has previous convictions for 11 counts of indecent assault, against five boys, back in 1977.

In 2019, one of the victims came forward to their local police station and officers began to investigate Murphy.

Officers established that his offending was much wider, with some offending taking place at the church and in the wider community in Sydenham where Murphy was a trusted figurehead.

Officers built a rapport with four victims to gather vital evidence, including witness statements, where victims often recounted painful and difficult details.

Officers also contacted relatives of the victims and identified other potential witnesses who also attended the church at the time of the offending.

Met officers travelled to Ireland to interview Murphy on two occasions, with the assistance of Garda officers, during the Covid pandemic.

In interviews, Murphy accepted guilt when presented with the evidence put together by officers.

However, he denied one of the accusations relating to one of the victims.

PC Helen French, from Central Specialist Crime, who led the investigation, said: “I want to acknowledge the bravery of the victims, whose courage has been unwavering throughout this process. Coming forward is not only a tribute to their strength, but serves as a sign to any other victims that they will be listened to and supported.

“Murphy used his position of power as a priest to prey on and take advantage of young boys – and some of their lives have been swathed with despair and anger, ridden with frustration and pain.

“I’d like to thank the dedicated team of officers who helped secure justice – their dedication has been extraordinary. I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of abuse, to come forward and get the help they so rightly deserve.”