UK

Longhorsley vicar Peter McConnell guilty of drunken plane grope

Peter McConnell entering court
Image caption The Reverend Peter McConnell used to be chief chaplain of Northumbria Police

A vicar has been found guilty of sexually assaulting an American student on a transatlantic flight.

The Reverend Peter McConnell rubbed the man’s groin on a flight from Philadelphia to Heathrow in March 2017, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

McConnell, of Longhorsley, Northumberland, had been drinking wine and spoke about strip clubs.

The 64-year-old, who was vicar at St Helen’s Church in the village at the time, was convicted at a retrial.

He will be sentenced on 29 July.

Jurors previously heard he had moved to sit in an empty seat next to the student, because a child behind him kept kicking his own.

McConnell then explained to him that he had been visiting the United States with his godson.

Towards the end of the flight the student became tired and McConnell covered him with a blanket, the court heard.

It was then the vicar sexually assaulted him under the blanket after he fell asleep.

McConnell – who was Northumbria Police chaplain during the hunt for killer Raoul Moat – was on long-term sick leave at the time of the assault and retired earlier this year.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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