Saturday 30 August 2014

Choirboys Paedophile Ring Caged For Decades-Old Sex Abuse

Tuffill: 14 Years

A paedophile ring - linked to a notorious church organist and choirmaster - were jailed yesterday for sexually abusing four young boy choristers who were "groomed" with alcohol, pornography and other treats.

The families of the boys were unaware the youngsters, all aged from seven to fourteen years-old, were being preyed upon until decades later when one by one they reported the abuse of the five defendants.

They are: IT company director and former funeral director Phillip Tuffill, 55, of Mill Lane, Merstham, Redhill, who received fourteen years.

Timothy Fuller, 53, of Herd Street, Stoke-on-Trent, who received six years.

Robert Lawty, 55, of Adams Croft, Brookwood, Woking, who received five years in his absence after being rushed to hospital with a suspected overdose when convicted the day before.

Fuller: 6 Years
Ian Coulthart, 62, of Kingswood Flats, Kingswood Street, Brighton, who received three-and-a-half years.

Mark Jales, 51, of The Annex, High Beech Farmhouse, Lower Godney, Wells, who received twelve months.

A sixth defendant, Gerald Heather, 65, of Nolan Close, Swindon was cleared of three counts involving two of the boys.

The boys attended St. Bartholemew's Primary School, Sydenham and sang in the St. Bartholemew's Church choir, which was run by convicted pedophile Tony Brockhurst, a funeral director who killed himself approximately five years ago, aged 80.

Croydon Crown Court Judge Jeremy Gold QC told them: "I don't know if you know or care of the damage you have done, but it's been long-lasting. This was a gross and cynical abuse of power."

Tuffill, who shared a house with Fuller in Gowland Place, Beckenham, was an employee of the same undertakers - H Copeland & Sons - and Jales was one of the drivers.

Tuffill, Heather and Coulthart were all members of the choir.

Lawty: 5 Years
One former choirboy was abused by all of the defendants, the jury were told, having been initially groomed by Brockhurst when aged only eleven years-old.

"He was a lonely little boy looking for warmth and attention and was groomed, including being given alcohol, and abused for three years," explained Miss Rosina Cottage QC.

"Tuffill began to abuse him a year after he joined the choir," she added, informing the jury the defendant had sex with the boy after inviting him to his home where he was given alcohol and treated to a chinese meal.

"The boy thought it was his purpose and the way of his relationships with these men.

"They were men trusted by the parents, they were connected to the church and the choir and there was no question about their integrity.

"They learned how to choose their victims and groom them so they would not say: 'no'."

Fuller was jailed for six months in 1987 of gross indecency with a boy and in 2005 received eighteen months for indecently assaulting a boy aged under fourteen, the jury were told.

"He is a man sexually attracted to children," said Miss Cottage. "He has a history of abusing boys and sexually assaulted the first complainant in this case as well."

Coulthart: 3-amd-a-half years
The jury were told Tuffill asked Fuller: "Why don't you try him out?" and soon afterwards the boy was plied with alcohol by the defendant, who then had sex with him.

"It happened several times over the next few months."

The same boy was introduced at a party to married cook Lawty, a friend of Tuffill's. "He was plied with alcohol, red wine, and Lawty also drank."

The court heard Lawty had sex with the youngster and told him: "Once you're in the ring, we've got you."

Miss Cottage added: "Lawty also asked him if he would have sex with his wife."

Coulthart also had sex with the boy, who complained it "hurt" and recalled one occasion when the defendant and Brockhurst had their way with him at a cottage near Royal Tunbridge Wells.
Jales: 12 Months

"He knew what was going to happen, but did not complain because he was use'd to it by this time. Each man took it in turns with the boy on the carpet in front of the fire."

The second victim, another chorister, claimed he was groomed by Tuffill, saying the defendant showed him pornography from Amsterdam and abused him in his own home when he was just eleven years-old, but the jury did not convict on these counts.

The boy remembers Heather as the driver of a mini-bus when the choristers were taken swimming or ten-pin bowling and as someone who would treat them to a chinese meal.

Churchgoer Jales - described by the boy as a "hanger-on" - had laid out pornography on the bed before undressing the youngster and abusing him. "It was furtive and it was squalid," recalled the complainant.

Heather: Not Guilty
His younger brother fell into the clutches of Tuffill aged just six years-old. "He groomed and abused him," said Miss Cottage.

"Tuffill started touching him before he even joined the choir. He would pull down the child's pyjama bottoms."

The complainant recalls being abused on both days of a trip to Cheddar Gorge when he stayed at a bed and breakfast with Tuffill.

A fourth complainant came forward and reported he had also been abused by Tuffill.

Tuffill was convicted of two sample counts of buggery in relation to the first boy; five counts of indecent assault in relation to the third boy and two counts of indecent assault in relation to the fourth boy.

Fuller and Lawty were each convicted of two counts of buggery in relation to the first victim.

Coulthart was found guilty of one count of buggery in relation to the first victim and Jales of indecently assaulting the second victim.

All the counts span from January 14, 1977 to October 27, 1986.


Anonymous said...

I buried my experience of these guys many years ago but I felt emboldened to write about it after reading this story here and in other news reports I've found from the time.
It was around 37 years ago when two of these guys assaulted me, when I was 15 or 16.
I believe it was Fuller and Brockhurst.
I was approached initially by a guy, who I believe must have been Brockhurst, who insisted I had dropped 50p in the street and that I should come in to the funeral directors, where he worked, to collect it.
This then escalated to a proposition where I might earn some pocket money assisting with their church choir.
When I returned to Copelands the funeral directors to discuss this, I was taken upstairs to a room where Fuller was waiting. I was immediately plied with alcohol and encouraged to look at hardcore gay pornography with them at which point the two of them assaulted me.
it all happened very fast, before I could really understand what was happening.
When I left I felt dazed, angry, confused, guilty and ashamed and whilst walking home I told myself never mention it and that it must be buried forever.

Its been in my head for most of my life, in the background, and I have told a couple of people over the years.
I had no idea these guys were involved in such a big ring of abuse and I feel lucky now that I escaped so easily when reading about others.
It's good they have been exposed.

Anonymous said...

Mark Jales is back at it under the name Mark Keel-Thornton

advertising to teach kids English in Spain at his apartment in 121 lessons

Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: Mark Jales
Registrant Organization: Thornton Law
Registrant Street: C/O 91 Calle Pontil
Registrant City: Torrox
Registrant State/Province: MALAGA
Registrant Postal Code: 29770
Registrant Country: ES
Registrant Phone: +34.7551442170
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email:

Anonymous said...

This is so sad to read. I would encourage you to go to the Police and report this. I know they have already been convicted but you deserve to be heard as a victim. Sending nothing but good wishes and light to you.

Anonymous said...

Now this story has been uncovered in spain two recent victimes of mark grayson aka mark jales has come to the light. Not children but have been abused by him and he new have to face the police in spain.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Tony Brockhurst was choirmaster & teacher at HADLOW Preparatory School in NZ during the 60s doing the same thing.

Editor said...

Today, both Jan Fuller and Phillip Tuffill are due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey following convictions at a Woolwich Crown Court trial.

Anonymous said...

Moved to December 01, 2023