NewsCrime Desk

Methodist minister accused of hypnotising and abusing boys

Ash Tree Close, Bedale, North Yorkshire
Ash Tree Close, Bedale, North Yorkshire

A retired Methodist minister accused of hypnotising then indecently assaulting four boys in the 1970s and 1980s told a jury he did nothing to them for which he would be "ashamed".

John Price, 82, told Teesside Crown Court a jury was wrong to convict him in 1999 of a similar offence against a 14-year-old boy in the vestry.

The widower, who is cared for by his daughter, denied being able to hypnotise people or ever claiming he had the skill.

Price, of Ash Tree Close, Bedale, North Yorkshire, denies 13 counts of indecent assault on boys aged between 11 and 17 when he worked in York and Pocklington.

He is accused of getting them into situations where they were alone with him, offering them hypnosis to help with stress or pain, then molesting them while he thought they were in a trance.

The defendant, who walks with a white stick, gave evidence in his defence from the witness box, telling the court he could "only very vaguely" remember the complainants from the time of the allegations.

He told the court none of the alleged offences took place.

Paul Newcombe, cross-examining, read the defendant extracts from a newspaper article reporting on his 1999 conviction.

Price told the court "none" of the article was true.

Mr Newcombe said: "So, the jury in the case that we are reading about got it wrong?"

He replied: "That's my belief."

Later, he told the court: "It's all wrong, it's all terribly wrong."

Mr Newcombe replied: "Surely, what you did to those boys was terribly wrong?"

Price replied: "I did nothing to them for which I would be ashamed."

Mr Newcombe said: "Probably the reason you felt no shame is because you were, and remain, a paedophile."

Price replied: "That's your opinion but it's not true."

He described the prosecution's case that he gained sexual gratification from touching boys as "somewhat laughable".

He also told the court: "I would believe in the laying on of hands, but only to lay hands on someone's head and offer prayer for healing, that's all."

The trial continues.