Leeds choirmaster jailed 56 years after he abused child

Abuse victim Roy Blanchard, 64.
Abuse victim Roy Blanchard, 64.

AN ‘arrogant’ choirmaster and former magistrate has been jailed more than half a century after he began the relentless sexual abuse of a choirboy at a church in Leeds.

Kenneth Endersby was allowed to evade justice for decades after the vicar at St Stephen’s church in Kirkstall helped him cover up the abuse when it first came to light.

How Leeds church helped cover up abuse scandal

ABUSE VICTIM: “I can still remember the churning in my stomach the very first time he attacked me.”

Victim Roy Blanchard was called a liar and a “filthy, disgusting and degenerate boy” by Rev Raymond Ward after his family reported Endersby to the church when he was aged 15 back in 1970.

Rev Ward also made veiled threats to Mr Ward’s mother, telling her that life would be made very difficult for her family if she went to the police.

Mr Blanchard, now 64, bravely waived his right to anonymity to talk to the YEP about the devastating impact the abuse has had on his adult life and the torment he has suffered at not being believed for so many years.

He also hopes his case will encourage other victims who carry the burden of historic abuse to come forward.

Endersby, now 84, has been jailed for eight years after a jury found him guilty of eight offences of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child after a trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Endersby began targeting Mr Blanchard in 1966 when he was aged 11 after he became the organist and choirmaster at the church on Morris Lane.

The abuse took place in the vestry, in the belfry and even among the workings of the church organ.

Endersby also made Mr Blanchard come with him in his car and would abusing him at remote locations.

He would also turn up at his home when he knew his parents were at work and abused him in the boy’s own bedroom.

Mr Blanchard lived in terror of Endersby, who told the youngster that he would have him sent to prison if he ever told anyone about the abuse.

During the five years of abuse, Endersby got married and even got his victim to sing at his wedding. He sought him out and continued to abuse the boy soon after returning from his honeymoon.

Endersby was allowed to continue to be a pillar of his local community as a lecturer and magistrate after the abuse was covered up.

He remained a senior member of the church for almost 50 years - recently heading a campaign to raise £200,000 to replace the church roof - until he was finally arrested after Mr Blanchard found the courage to go to the police.

Jailing Endersby, Recorder Dafyyd Enoch said: “I am not in the least bit surprised that the jury took so little time to convict you on what I consider to be overwhelming evidence.”

Referring to Mr Blanchard’s evidence in court, he said: “No one could have failed to be moved by it. He gave a clear and heart rending account of being groomed and sexually abused by you.

“You abused the trust placed in you as a choirmaster of your local church.

“He never recovered. Your abuse of him has clouded everything that has happened to him thereafter. It is a great shame that you were not exposed as a sex abuser in 1970.

“But it was the church that came to your protection and you got your friend, the Rev Raymond Ward, to shut down the allegation.

“Raymond Ward bears a great deal of responsibility for Roy Blanchard’s subsequent inability to have closure on this.

“I accept entirely what he said - calling him a filthy, disgusting and degenerate boy.

“For him to speak about the boy like that was unforgivable, as was his failure to co-operate in the allegations against you.”

“You hid behind the Christian church to commit your crimes and you hid behind it when you were caught out. What a disgrace to the Christian church.

“You are not a Christian. A true Christian does not abuse little boys.”

“I do not believe Roy Blanchard wanted this at any stage - but you gave him no choice.

“It seems to me, from everything that you have said and your demeanour, that you have not one ounce of remorse.”

“Your arrogance beggars belief. You thought yourself untouchable but you have finally been brought to justice through the verdict of the jury.”

“While Roy Blanchard has struggled through every day of his life, you have lived a charmed life and a cosseted life. But you are no longer a fine upstanding member of the community - you are a convicted paedophile.”

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How Leeds church helped cover up abuse scandal

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