Chorley man speaks of abuse ordeal at hands of Preston and Blackpool vicar Neil Gray who is starting a four year jail term

The first victim of paedophile vicar Neil Gray today spoke of his ordeal as the former clergyman was sentenced to am immediate jail term.

The 61-year-old was just 13 when he was groomed by Gray, who allowed him and other boys to drink and smoke in his church accommodation in Chorley.

Abuse victim silhouette

Abuse victim silhouette

He used his position to indecently assault the youngster, Preston Crown Court heard.


At the time Gray was a curate at St Lawrence's parish church.

He has now been jailed for four years at Preston Crown Court after admitting two offences.

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His victim explains: " I had been bottling it up for years until my mother died. Then I reported it independently.


"The other victim had reported his experience too but it was one word against another - but obviously it came up when I made my report and it was decided to proceed with both cases.


"My family attended another church in Chorley, but all my friends went to St Lawrence's and I started going to the youth club.


"He was a curate and was provided with a big house.


"The other curate he lived with, who is now dead, was also involved in abuse but obviously no charges can be proceeded with against him now.


"There was a group of us who went to his house He let us drink beer and wine and smoke - I was only 13.


" At first I would say I didn't let it ruin my life - I put it to the back of my mind.


"My mother was a God fearing woman and loved the Church. She knew this guy and she liked him.


"There was no way I could break her heart. It would have killed her."


But as he got older it started to affect him more.

He waited until his mother had passed away before disclosing what had happened to him.


He recalls: "It started to get me down. I ended up suffering depression and going to my GP.


"About five years ago I blurted it out to my wife when we were watching something about football related abuse on television.


"Then about three years ago we decided to report it.


"I have done my part and reported him. My main concern is not what sentence he gets.


"I don't really care what sentence he gets - people know his name and he's been defrocked.


"What's on my mind is whether there are others."

READ MORE: A second complainant has also told the court about the devastating impact on his life after Gray abused him at a vicarage in Preston.