Former boys' home at Coleshill damaged in an arson attack – centre of child abuse scandal in the late 1990s

The former boys' home at Coleshill in Warwickshire which was badly damaged in an arson attack last night was at the centre of a child abuse scandal in the late 1990s.

Father Eric Taylor was jailed in 1998 after being found guilty of 18 charges of sexually abusing young boys. The offences happened in the 1950s and 60s.

Here is some information regarding the conviction of taylor in 1998.

A CATHOLIC priest who abused children at an orphanage was jailed for seven years yesterday.
Father Eric Taylor, who abused boys as young as six and then stood by as they were beaten by nuns for complaining, was found guilty of 16 charges of indecent assault and two charges of buggery.

During sentencing at Warwick Crown Court, Judge Marten Coates told 78- year-old Taylor: “For nearly seven years you were in a position of trust and authority at the home at Coleshill.

“These homes had been set up to rescue the most vulnerable people in our society.

“You told the jury the regime was harsh and boys were beaten in an unlawful manner. Not only did you do nothing about this, but you knew the fear of receiving such punishment meant that the boys were unlikely to complain.

“Those few who did knew their complaints would not be believed and secure in that knowledge you indulged yourself.

“The lifelong damage you inflicted has been seen during the course of this trial. The trust placed in you, you abused on a daily basis.”

During the two-week trial the jury heard of a catalogue of offences at the Father Hudson's home in Coleshill, Warwickshire, between 1957 and 1965.

After the verdict, one jury member left the court in tears as it was revealed that Taylor had been previously been fined by magistrates for abusing four boys at his vicarage in Worcestershire in 1975

Taylor, of Aston-by-Stone, Staffordshire, was jailed for seven years on the two counts of buggery and five years, to run concurrently, on the charges of indecent assault.

Now in their forties and fifties, the 16 victims who helped secure a conviction are only the tip of the iceberg, it is believed.

At least two orphans who were at the home during Taylor's reign committed suicide, according to Warwickshire police who have also revealed that 10 more former residents had come forward since the beginning of the trial.

Victims told how Taylor was “like a Pied Piper” who was revered at the orphanage, by nuns who admired his status as a former prisoner of war, and by young boys whom he would reward with cigarettes, money and sweets.

Taylor, who spent four years in a war camp in Austria after being captured while serving with the Royal Navy during the Second World War, arrived at the home in 1957 after being ordained three years earlier.

He would prey on young boys as they slept in their dormitories, the court heard.

Nuns at the orphanage would beat those who complained with belts, canes, wet rags and straps, it emerged, and people who complained about Taylor's activities would be forced to do chores.

Taylor, who denied all the charges, was found not guilty of two further charges of buggery and one charge of indecent assault.

The Roman Catholic Church last night apologised to the priests' victims. A joint statement issued by the Father Hudson Society and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, read: “We deeply regret the effect of Father Taylor's actions and will offer counselling and ongoing support as appropriate to those concerned.”

The Father Hudson Society has not operated residential homes since 1984 but runs a range of services including adoption, fostering, residential and day care for older people and those with disabilities.

Judge Coates told Taylor: “The boys came from all walks of life. You are a disgrace to your cloth and the church you proclaim. Your victims were not only young but they were helpless, you were the nearest thing they had to a father figure.”

We understand that it is not unusual for those who were subject to abuse to come forward later in life. If you or somebody you know were subject to abuse please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence.


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

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Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

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