Twisted former pastor caned naked woman after making her take ‘vows of obedience’

Hilary Alflatt, 87, began abusing the vulnerable woman when she asked him for help as her parish pastor in the 1990s, forcing her to take a bizarre “vow of obedience” to him

Alflatt was granted absolute discharge at Hull Crown Court
Hilary Alflatt has been granted an outright dismissal at Hull Crown Court

A former pastor who repeatedly hit a naked woman with a bamboo stick during a decade of “bizarre and cruel” abuse was spared from prison after telling the judge he was dying.

Hilary Alflatt, 87, who now lives in a care home in North Yorkshire, was found by a jury earlier this year on a series of assaults on the woman but did not face a full criminal trial as he was found to be medically unfit.

But after Hull Crown Court learned Alflatt has advanced dementia and is in the final months of his life, Judge Sophie McKone said she had no choice but to issue an outright dismissal.

This means that the court recognizes that a crime has been committed but decides that punishing the accused would be inappropriate and the case is dropped.

The judge said the victim was abandoned by the church after turning to Alflatt for assistance (stock image).


(Getty Images)

At Tuesday’s sentencing, Judge McKone said if Alflatt, formerly known as Malcolm, was found guilty of the felonies, he would face “years in prison.”

She said: “However, the defendant is now 87 years old.

“He lives in a nursing home. He is bedridden and has advanced dementia that is irreversible and progressive.

“He is in the last months of his life. He is physically very frail.”

The court heard the victim had approached Alflatt for assistance when he was a vicar in Sheffield in the 1980s.

The judge said: “He has betrayed the trust that she and the Church have placed in him in the most bizarre and cruel way.

According to his own statements, he suggested that she take a vow of obedience and a vow of poverty.

“She had to kiss his feet when she saw him and called him Master.”

Rt Revd Dr Pete Wilcox described the case as a “deep shame”.



The judge said, “By his own admission, he asked her to walk down the street in just a raincoat to ‘control the relationship’.”

Judge McKone said the defendant admitted to branding the woman, although the jury could not agree on a count related to that incident.

She said: “As part of the control, he hit [the woman] on her bare back and buttocks with a bamboo stick while lying naked on the bed to punish her if she disobeyed him.

“She had welts that lasted for weeks and it was a very painful experience for her.

“She lived in constant fear of what the accused would do to her.”

By the 1990s, the vulnerable woman had realized what was happening to her was wrong and reported Alflatt.

But Judge McKone said she was once again let down by the church by failing to take “appropriate action”.

Earlier this year, the Bishop of Sheffield apologized to the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

The Rt Revd Dr. Pete Wilcox said: “It is a profound disgrace that a former Church of England priest serving in this Diocese of Sheffield was found by a jury to have committed assault with actual assault in an abuse pattern that spanned a decade.

“There are no apologies whatsoever for what happened and we deeply regret that the matter has only now come to court.

“Chancellor abuse is a serious breach of trust that almost always, as in this case, causes lifelong damage.

“I want to offer my unreserved apologies to the survivor of this abuse for what she has endured and to salute her courage in speaking out to seek justice.”

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