Andrew Butcher, 44, met the child while organising the funeral for his family member. He then struck up a friendship with the lad’s mother. However, a court heard the undertaker, then in his 20s, invited the boy to his home and played a “tickling game”, which led to him performing a sex act on him.
Butcher warned the boy not to tell anyone as it was their “secret”. His victim plucked up the courage to report what had happened some years later.
And the shamed undertaker was jailed for four years yesterday, reports Stoke-on-Trent Live.
Sentencing Butcher at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, Judge Paul Glenn said: “He was scared of what might happen if he resisted. Afterwards, you asked if he was alright and, perhaps, by then realising you had gone too far.
“You told him not to tell anyone. That it was your secret. He kept that promise for many years.
“On the day of the offence, you offered to have him (the boy) at your home for a few hours.
“I do not find there was any sort of ruse to enable you to have access to the child. I am satisfied that what occurred was spontaneous and not premeditated.”
Antony Longworth, prosecuting, read out extracts from the victim’s personal statement.
It revealed he had suffered long-term psychological effects from the sexual abuse and had tried to take his own life at least twice.
The victim feared he wouldn’t be believed because of Butcher’s ‘position in society’. But after reporting the matter as an adult, he said: “I just wanted to get rid of the dark shadow.”
Butcher, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, had denied the allegations during his trial and maintained the relationship with the boy was entirely innocent.
But he was found guilty by a jury of two charges of indecent assault on a male and one of gross indecency with a child.
Barry White, defending, said there was “little or no planning” involved in the offences and there was “no grooming”.
The defendant has no previous convictions.
“I would submit it is an isolated incident,” added the lawyer.
Judge Glenn said the risk of Butcher reoffending was low. The defendant, though, will be subject to the sex offenders’ register’s notification requirements for an indefinite period.