Jailed priest who worked in Wigan to appeal against abuse conviction

Father Michael Higginbottom
Father Michael Higginbottom

An appeal is set to be heard this week for a Catholic priest convicted of repeatedly abusing a teenage boy at a seminary near Wigan.

Law lords will rule upon the case of Father Michael Higginbottom, who worked at St Joseph’s College at Up Holland in the late ’70s, after a hearing on Thursday.

The 74-year-old, who last lived at West Farm Road in Newcastle, is currently serving a 17-year jail sentence.

Appeal court judges will be asked to consider the verdicts on eight sexual offences, said to involve Higginbottom, between September 1978 and March 1979.

The priest was convicted of abusing his alleged victim while he was a physics teacher at St Joseph’s which trained young boys wanting to become priests.

The former St Joseph’s schoolboy at the centre of the case said he was struck with a strap if he did not attend Higginbottom’s living quarters at the seminary, where most of the abuse was said to have happened.

The boy claimed his schoolwork suffered, as a result of him being repeatedly molested.

But Higginbottom alleged his accuser was motivated by possible compensation payouts.