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THE Queen's former chaplain has been jailed for "terrifying" sex assaults on a schoolgirl.

Canon Dr Stephen Palmer, of Turriff, Aberdeenshire, had promised to help the 17-year-old with her religious education exams.

But instead he assaulted the girl six times after enticing her to his home while his wife was taking their two young children to school.

Palmer, now 68, touched the teenager intimately as she sat in his study.

On the final occasion, the girl feared she would be raped, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

His victim, now 57, said in a statement: "I couldn't cope with what happened. I have tried to commit suicide and have suffered from ongoing nightmares over the years.

"Stephen Palmer was a man of the church and someone that people looked up to and trusted.

"I have found it hard to trust anyone from the church since and have never been able to return. I feel sad that, despite my strong beliefs, I was unable to practise them."

Royal Navy veteran Palmer carried out the attacks between 1975 and 1976 while working as an assistant curate at Holy Rood church in Stubbington, Hampshire, where he ran a youth group.

He was convicted in May of six counts of indecent assault.

Jailing him for 39 months, Nigel Lickley QC said: "The victim's church life was very important to her but the trust she had was destroyed by you.

"This case demonstrates a breach of trust. She came to you for tuition and was abused."

Palmer was made honorary chaplain to the Queen in 2008 but retired from the post a year later.



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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 25, 2015
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