Michael John Norman Ingram (Father Ingram) 19th February 2002 Court of Appeal

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.  National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [C] and Havoca [D]. Useful post on triggers [E] from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.

Redaction Some reports have had victims names redacted and some assault details redacted. This is a difficult balance-  normally I would think that  I should not “censor” details but on consultation with various people I have taken the decision to redact. This is mainly to protect victims, their friends and relatives from unnecessary detail and to stop the gratification of those who seek salacious details. In addition to the obvious “victims redaction” I have thus “assault redacted”. It appears to make no large difference to the vital information for researchers that these documents contain. That information is mainly names of the perpetrators, past addresses, and the charges they faced – on which newspapers are pathetically inaccurate. If you think that the balance is not correct or that a particular redaction needs reconsideration, please say.

*R v Michael John Norman Ingram (Father Ingram)*

[2002] EWCA Crim 512

No: 00/5384/W2


Royal Courts of Justice

The Strand

London WC2

Tuesday 19th February 2002

Lord Justice Clarke

Mr Justice Leveson and

Sir Oliver Popplewell


Michael John Norman Ingram

Computer Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of Smith Bernal Reporting
Limited 190 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2AG Tel No: 020 7421 4040 Fax No: 020
7831 8838 (Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

MR C HART-LEVERTON QC & MR E ROMILLY appeared on behalf of the APPELLANT

MR GJ BUCHANAN appeared on behalf of the CROWN


(As approved by the Court )

Tuesday 19th February 2002

1. MR JUSTICE LEVESON : On 31st July 2000, in the Crown Court at Leicester
before His Honour Judge Benson, Father Michael John Norman Ingram stood
trial on an indictment alleging one count of buggery, four counts of
indecent assault upon a male and two counts of gross indecency with a
child. At the very end of the trial and either while or immediately prior
to the judge commencing his summing-up, Father Ingram was involved in a
serious road traffic accident. On the basis that all remained was the
summing-up the trial continued. In the event he was convicted upon each
count. Prior to sentence, however, unfortunately Father Ingram died.
Relying on section 44A of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968, by leave of the
single judge, his sister now pursues this appeal. For ease of reference, we
shall continue to refer to Father Ingram as the appellant.

2. Between 1971 and 1978 the appellant, a priest with a specialist interest
in children’s religious and moral education, was curate at Holy Cross
Church in Leicester. In that capacity he took groups of boys on holiday to
a farmhouse near Melton Mowbray and camping on the Isle of Wight. In
summary it was the prosecution case that he abused vulnerable boys from
deprived backgrounds whilst they were in his care. It was not until 1998
that one of the complainants, Child 1, made a complaint to the police. Shortly
afterwards his brother, Child 2, also made a complaint. The allegations were
investigated, and other boys formerly under his care approached and
questioned. A number made complaints. The seven counts involved alleged
abuse of six young boys.

3. The appellant denied any misbehaviour and alleged that the complainants
had either wrongly identified him, misconstrued innocent touching or made
false allegations as a result of fantasy, false memory syndrome or in an
effort to obtain compensation. Given the verdicts of the jury, it is
unnecessary to rehearse the entirety of the evidence. The appellant’s
evidence and the evidence of those witnesses called to support him was not
sufficient to cause the jury to doubt the accounts which the complainants
had given. Furthermore the only grounds of appeal relate to the
admissibility of and directions in relation to two further men who
complained of indecency when they were children. It is sufficient to
summarise the allegations against that background in short form.

4. Child 1, who was 41 at the time of trial, came from a poor Catholic family
and remembered going to the Isle of Wight when he was 12 or 13. He and his
brother had started off in the same tent but were separated. There came a
time when he described how a man with a beard had taken him fishing and how
this man had [assault redacted]. He went to the
staff tent where gas lights were on and found the appellant and the bearded
man,[assault redacted] He did not dare disobey because these were adults in authority.
[assault redacted]

5. Child 1 gave evidence that he bled for some days but did not tell his
brother. Eventually he told his father, who gave him a ‘pasting’, telling
him to keep quiet. It was he who, after a television programme, determined
that he should go to the police.

6. The second boy, his brother, also spoke of going on holiday. The
appellant had taken him out of the tent where he had been sleeping because
he had been bawling and shouting at night. He was made to sleep in his, the
appellant’s, tent. According to him, all the adults were there in the tent
and the late appellant required him to take his clothes off before getting
into a sleeping bag, which he did. [assault redacted]

7. The third count concerned Child 3. He spoke in laudatory terms of the
appellant, whom he described as “approachable”. He went also on holiday
this time to Coston Lodge, which is near Melton Mowbray, at the appellant’s
invitation. There was there an occasion when he was given what he
considered to be the honour of sleeping with the appellant because everyone
liked him so much.  [assault redacted]

8. Child 4 was another young man also at the same holiday camp although not
necessarily at the same time. He remembered going into the late appellant’s
room with another boy of a similar age. He sat on the bed with the other
boy.[assault redacted]

9. The fifth and sixth counts concerned allegations of gross indecency with
another boy who wished to be an altar boy. He also went to the same camp.
He said there was a game “who was going to sleep in Chris’s [the
appellant’s] room”. He could not remember the basis on which the decision
was made, but while in that room all the boys, him and two others, were
naked. There was also a little girl who was in a nappy.[assault redacted]

10. The seventh count, involved similar allegations in relation to the camp
on the Isle of Wight. On this occasion because this particular young boy,
PO, was a bedwetter he was required to sleep next to the appellant. He had
fallen asleep. [assault redacted] His parents were devout Catholics. He again did not take matters any further.

11. To each of these witnesses Mr Hart-Leverton, confronted with the
enormous forensic difficulties of challenging men giving evidence about
incidents many years earlier when they were boys, took such steps as he
could to put the case that his client instructed him to put. Those who had
criminal convictions were asked about their convictions. We are told that
social services files were also available and there was a body of material
which the police had collected which at least in some small part he was
able to use.

12. The trial proceeded in perfectly usual form until the end of the first
week when the prosecution applied to adduce the evidence of two further
boys, Child 5 and Child 4, who, following publicity, had come forward and also made
complaints of indecent conduct by the appellant. In certain respects, the
allegations were not the same but Mr Hart-Leverton accepts before this
Court, and doubtless accepted before the learned judge, that the
allegations which these boys made could, as a matter of law, satisfy the
requirements of admissibility under the similar fact principles identified
in * Director of Public Prosecutions v P * (1991) 93 Cr App R 267 per Lord
Mackay at page 278. His concern was not so much admissibility, which he
argued was borderline but not legally challengeable, but rather fairness
given the entire absence of material with which to cross-examine them and
thus the absence of any real opportunity to test their evidence. There was
not even that detail which had been supplied for the other victims. Mr
Hart-Leverton contends that the judge’s determination to carry on with the
trial—although we add immediately that the judge had made it clear he was
perfectly prepared to allow some time for this further evidence to be
investigated—was such that he did not feel that, having regard to the time
available, there would be anything like sufficient to obtain appropriate
detail with which sensibly to cross-examine. We are told, and we accept,
that Father Ingram was in an emotional state during the course of the trial
and was very anxious that the trial proceed to its conclusion. Furthermore,
it was difficult to require him to focus on events then 30 years on to seek
to provide instructions as to his relationship with either or both of these
men whom, within the hundreds whom he had taken to camp, it would be
difficult to pick out.

13. Before us it is argued that to permit this evidence to be admitted was
not fair simply on the basis that it was too late. Mr Hart-Leverton puts
with force: ‘How could Father Ingram instruct us if he only had hours or
days within which to do so?’ He makes it clear that he did not apply for an
adjournment for the reasons which we have stated, but otherwise because he
did not apprehend that the learned judge would have been prepared to allow
sufficient time to investigate at the depth that he would have required,
which Mr Hart-Leverton put as requiring “weeks if not months”.

14. We do not underestimate the difficulties which defence counsel face in
circumstances such as these but we are not persuaded that there was
anything ever likely to emerge which the briefest of enquiries would not
have revealed. Thus, we have no doubt that if they had criminal records
that information would have been forthcoming from the police. If they had
come to the attention of social services, it would have been a
comparatively straightforward matter to obtain their records and study
them. As to ascertaining whether they may or may not have had any contact
with any of the others, it would have been perfectly possible to ascertain
their addresses and to cross-examine them, or indeed the others, as to
their knowledge of, or relationship with, each other. The prospect of
obtaining evidence of contact from some third party is really too remote to
bear consideration.

15. Mr Hart-Leverton accepted that the question of the admissibility of
this evidence, it being legally admissible, then fell to the discretion of
the judge. His alternative formulation of this point was that no proper
exercise of discretion could have been undertaken which permitted this
evidence to be called. Having regard to what we have said about the steps
that could have been taken, and indeed all the steps that realistically
ever could have been taken, we do not agree. We believe this decision was
legitimately within the discretion of the court and that equally had Mr
Hart-Leverton sought rather longer than in fact was taken he would have
obtained it and been able to ascertain as much as could reasonably or
legitimately be expected within days rather than seeking any further period
of time. On that basis this ground of appeal fails.

16. We turn now to the second ground, which is linked with the first,
namely the way in which the learned judge explained the evidence of these
boys to the jury, not once, as Mr Hart-Leverton has made clear, but several
times. We underline that no complaint is made of the nature of the
direction. It is not said that the learned judge erred in his approach to
similar fact evidence or erred in relation to the directions that he gave
as to witnesses who came to give such evidence without themselves being
complainants in a criminal trial. His criticism is that the learned judge
repeated far too often his specific mantra, if we might be so permitted to
describe it, in relation to these two young men so as to emphasise unduly
the nature of the evidence which they gave. Thus, immediately after their
evidence, the learned judge explained:

“Now, so you do not go puzzling about it, how, in the context of this case,
do you approach their evidence, because there are not any charges in
relation to either Child 5 or to Child 4, and the reason there are not charges is
that this time last week the prosecution did not know they existed. If they had known long
enough ago there could have been charges, but it is far too late to add
extra charges to the indictment. You are entitled to hear their evidence
because it is of a similar nature in terms of the allegations and the time
historically as those of the six witnesses whose evidence is reflected by
counts. So therefore you can assess these two witnesses in overall
assessing the credibility of the other witnesses. Do you understand? It is
further support. If you accept what they say—that is the crucial part—if
you are sure that either of both of them have told the truth, it is capable
of being some supporting evidence.”

17. When he came to direct the jury, he started out by making it clear that
there were similarities between the counts. He goes on:

“If you came to the conclusion that you believed one of these boys, it does
not matter which, but if you decided that you believed one and you were
sure he was telling the truth and it follows that you are sure that he, the
defendant, was lying about their relationship, then you can use that
finding in relation to another boy, and then if you decide, using that
finding and the evidence the second boy gave, that he too is telling the
truth, then you can use those two findings in relation to the next one, and
so on. I hope you understand. It does not mean that they stand or fall
together, not at all. Each is considered individually. But the reason these
cases are heard together is because … if you decided, “I believe him, he’s
absolutely right”, you can use that finding in relation to another of the
alleged victims. And that, by the way, is why you heard the evidence of Child 5
and Child 4, who came at the end of last week and you heard them give evidence
on Monday. They made their statements at the end of last week as a result
of the publicity attaching to this case. If they had been known about in
sufficient time there would have been two extra counts in the indictment,
but there was not. But you were able to hear their evidence because if you
believe either or both of them and you are sure they are right and that he
is wrong, you can use that finding—that is Child 4 or Child 5 are right—in
assessing another of the men you have heard, another of the alleged
victims; and that is why you heard that particular evidence. So that is an
important matter of law and I am sure you will bear it in mind.”

18. Mr Hart-Leverton makes the candid concession that this direction is
entirely right and he makes no complaint of it at all. But his complaint is
that again, a third time, he repeats effectively the same direction in
relation to the same two boys and suggests that in effect the learned judge
was saying, between the lines: ‘We all have good reason to believe DH and
Child 4, therefore they can overcome any doubts that you, the jury, might have
about the others’.

19. We do not so read the learned judge’s summing-up. The reason that Child 5
and Child 4 required separate treatment is that there was no separate count
touching their allegations. There was no specific allegation which they
made which required the jury to return a verdict of guilty or not guilty.
It was thus inevitable that it was necessary, and perhaps not once but more
than once, to make it abundantly clear the limited use they could make of
their evidence. We do not consider, with respect to the able submissions
which have been addressed to us, that there is any legitimate criticism of
the way the learned judge directed the jury.

20. There is in the circumstances nothing in this appeal and,
notwithstanding the very real concern that doubtless those who are left
behind following Father Ingram’s death feel, it must be dismissed.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.  National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [C] and Havoca [D]. Useful post on triggers [E] from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html

[B] NAPAC http://www.napac.org.uk/

[C] One in Four http://www.oneinfour.org.uk/

[D] Havoca http://www.havoca.org/HAVOCA_home.htm

[E] SurvivorsJustice Triggers post http://survivorsjustice.com/2014/02/26/triggers-what-are-they-and-how-do-we-work-through-them/

[F] SurvivorsJustice Blog http://survivorsjustice.com/

This is all written in good faith but if there is anything that needs to be corrected please email cathyfox@bigfoot.com

cathyfox the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free

About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
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2 Responses to Michael John Norman Ingram (Father Ingram) 19th February 2002 Court of Appeal

  1. Pingback: Timeline of Court and Court of Appeal Documentation on Cathy Fox blog | cathyfox blog

  2. Pingback: Leicestershire Child Abuse 2 – Timeline of a Paedophile – Michael Ingram | cathyfox blog

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