Alexander Bede Walsh, the Catholic Priest
Alexander Bede Walsh guilty of sexually abusing seven boys aged between seven and 16 while working as a priest

A former Roman Catholic clergyman from Staffordshire has been convicted of 19 charges of abusing boys as young as seven.

Alexander Bede Walsh, 58, from Abbots Bromley, was found guilty at Stoke crown court of sexually abusing seven boys aged between seven and 16 while working as a priest.

The jury heard that the incidents happened between 1975 and 1993 whilst he was working as a priest in Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Coventry.

Walsh denied a total of 27 counts of sexual assault on young boys. He told the court he had never abused or inappropriately touched any of the victims.

The court heard that Walsh resigned from working as a priest after being convicted in 2004 for downloading indecent images of children on the internet continued living in church accommodation.

Walsh told prosecutor Robert Price that he was a victim of the complainants who were motivated to make the claims against him in a bid to get compensation.

Price described the priest as a "determined, manipulative, predatory paedophile" who thought nobody would ever tell someone of his abuse because he was a priest.

The jury found Walsh guilty 18 charges of indecent assault and one of a serious sexual offence.

The court is considering four further charges against him. three of them relate to an eighth alleged victim.