A church worker who sexually assaulted boys as young as seven has been jailed for 12 years, after a widow of one of his victims said he took his own life after revealing the abuse he suffered.
Choirmaster and church organist, Richard Owen, 71, began his jail sentence today after he was found guilty of assaulting 14 boys during sexually charged corporal punishment beatings.
Owen, from Hale near Altrincham, Greater Manchester, admitted 27 sexual assault charges between 1970 and 1998 on boys as young as seven.
The abuse lasted over a 28-year period, with one of his victims ending his own life in 2019 following years of trauma, keeping the abuse secret.
The victim was just eleven at the time and had decided to keep silent about his experience until 2019 when he confided in his wife.
Speaking at Chester Crown Court, his widow said that he had been so distressed in sharing his ‘secret’ that he could barely breath.
Just two weeks after disclosing the abuse he took his own life, aged 39.
Speaking at the two-day sentencing hearing, the victim’s widow read out a statement on behalf of her dead husband.
It read: ‘He took his own life just two weeks after confiding to me about the abuse he had suffered.
‘He said it was a secret he had been carrying for 30 years and he was sobbing so much he was hardly able to breathe.’
She said the impact of Owen’s crimes could be seen in the fact that her husband, who was a music teacher and head of a prep school in Berkshire, could not tell his own story.
She added: ‘Because of this I am a widow, and two girls aged eight and six have lost their dad.
‘They cannot understand why they no longer have their dad, but all their friends do.
‘He was a talented singer and music teacher who had made it his life mission to help children overcome their own difficulties.’
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Source: Daily Mail