Former Cromer Methodist minister Philip Hilstrop breaches sexual offences prevention order

PUBLISHED: 14:04 06 June 2014

1999 picture of Methodist minister Rev Philip Hilstrop

1999 picture of Methodist minister Rev Philip Hilstrop


Former Cromer Methodist minister Philip Hilstrop was back in court for breaching his sexual offences prevention order after using a phone to take pictures at an Easter procession while on holiday.

Hilstrop, 63, of Queens Road, Norwich, admitted one count of breaching the order between January 2012 and August 2013, and another breach between January 2012 and May 2013, by having mobile phones capable of taking images.

Norwich Crown Court heard in 2011, he was given a four month suspended sentence for possessing more than 1,000 indecent images.

He was also placed on the sex offenders register and made subject to a sexual offences prevention order, under which he must not have a mobile phone with a camera outside his address.

Richard Kelly, prosecuting, said Hilstrop was found during a routine check by police to have taken photos on his mobile phone camera, while outside his address.

They also discovered he had an iPhone which he had not told police about, but was ruined when he dropped it down a toilet, by accident.

Michael Clare, for Hilstrop, said he had breached his order by using the phone to take pictures on holiday in Spain, while watching an Easter procession.

“That’s something he did carelessly and thoughtlessly, rather than in a sinister way.”

He said Hilstrop was a popular and respected teacher and then a minister before his conviction and said that Hilstrop had been frank with probation about his attraction to young, teenage males.

“It’s a problem which he himself identifies.”

He said Hilstrop had already completed an internet sex offenders treatment programme.

Judge Stephen Holt accepted that it was difficult to get a phone which did not have a camera but said that Hilstrop must make sure he complies with his order.

He ordered Hilstrop to attend a three year Thames Valley sex offenders treatment as part of a community order.

He said he felt this was the best way of protecting the public.

“It is the safety of children I’m most concerned with.”

He said that by Hilstrop attending the course he hoped he would he would further reduce any risk.

He said Hilstrop would also be still subject to the sexual offences prevention order and be on the sex offenders register.

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