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Voyeur Hadleigh priest struck off by church for seven years




Pictured: The Very Rev Martin Thrower.
Pictured: The Very Rev Martin Thrower.

A senior Hadleigh clergyman, who took almost 600 images of men in public toilets, has been barred by the Church of England for seven years.

The Very Rev Martin Thrower, 56, the former rector of Hadleigh with Layham and Shelley, was convicted of two counts of voyeurism last year, after he was caught filming a teenage boy in a shopping centre toilet in 2016.

Following Thrower’s trial, the Diocese of St Edmundsbury took its own internal disciplinary measures in October and struck him off until 2024 — although the outcome of these proceedings was only made public this month.

The church confirmed that Thrower would be able to reapply to become a minister again, subject to a risk assessment to determine whether he was fit to hold this position.

John Howard, spokesman for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: “Martin Thrower was convicted of voyeurism in August 2017, and sentenced to two counts of four months imprisonment for each offence, suspended for two years.

“As a result of this, he was the subject of a formal church disciplinary procedure and, in October 2017, he was removed from his post as rector of Hadleigh and barred from ministry as a priest in the Church of England for seven years.

“After that time, he could apply to return to ministry.

“Before any return could be considered, however, an independent safeguarding risk assessment would need to be carried out to assess his fitness to minister.

“He was suspended from ministry as soon as the church became aware of the allegations, and he remained suspended until his dismissal.

“The Church of England apologises unreservedly to those people affected by the criminal behaviour of Martin Thrower.

“The impact on those affected by voyeurism can be devastating.

“Although none of his offences took place at church, or in connection with his church role in any way, the Church of England in Suffolk takes safeguarding very seriously, and is committed to making all of its churches a safer place for all.”

The church added that its decision not to make the outcome of the disciplinary procedure public until now will be reviewed.

Thrower had been the rector of Hadleigh with Layham and Shelly since 2009.

He was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, by Norwich Crown Court in August, and was ordered to undertake 30 days of rehabilitation and attend a course to address his sexual offending for up to 60 days.

The court heard that police officers had discovered 589 images on Thrower’s phone, which included 50 taken from above toilet cubicle partitions, six videos, and 17 images which showed men’s genitals and buttocks.

Four images were found on his Apple iMac at his home, which the prosecutor said showed professionally made pornography of men going to the lavatory.



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