Claire Hayhurst, PA
Fri, 19 May 2023 at 2:02 pm BST
The paedophile brother of TV presenter Phillip Schofield has been jailed for 12 years after being convicted of child sex offences.
Timothy Schofield, 54, was convicted of 11 sexual offences involving a child between October 2016 and October 2019, including two of sexual activity with a child, after a trial at Exeter Crown Court in April.
Schofield, a civilian police worker from Bath, Somerset, told the jury while giving evidence that he had watched pornography with the boy who he insisted was over the age of 16 at the time.
He claimed they had masturbated while sitting apart and denied performing sexual acts on the teenager.
However, the jury found Schofield guilty on all counts with a majority of 10-2 after more than five-and-a-half hours of deliberation.
Avon and Somerset Police later dismissed Schofield, who had been suspended from his job at the force’s headquarters in Portishead after being arrested and charged, without notice.
Mrs Justice Cutts, sentencing Schofield at Bristol Crown Court on Friday, told him: “You exploited his innocence at this stage of his life for your own sexual gratification.
“It was wrong on every level for you to behave as you did.
“He felt forced to do what you wanted, trapped and unable to escape. He felt he couldn’t tell anyone and did not do so for many years.
“You took away his ability to be the teenager he should have been – carefree, relaxed, happy. It is clear to me that you became utterly obsessed with him.”
She added: “Your actions and behaviour have had a devastating impact on the boy.
“In doing what you did, you thought only of yourself.
“I have not heard a single word of remorse from you, only self-pity.”
The judge, who imposed a sexual harm prevention order on Schofield and barred him from working with children, commended the courage of the boy for reporting the abuse.
After sentencing Schofield, she said: “I sincerely hope that the boy and his family find a way to move forward from the dreadful events and I commend him for his bravery.”
In a victim personal statement read to the court by Robin Shellard, prosecuting, the boy said he felt “numb to life” following the abuse.
He said: “Before Tim was arrested, I felt I had no freedom. I often felt panic, stress and fear. I felt like I was trapped in a loop of fear and anxiety of the abuse happening again.
“It was only after Tim was arrested that I felt safe. It was only after Tim was arrested that I felt free – free to be me, free to be happy, free to be relaxed.”
The boy added: “I feel more blunt, I feel more bitter, I feel numb to life. I know I should feel really happy or really sad but I don’t have the ability to emotionally connect to what is happening.”
Representing Schofield, Peter Binder said his client had no previous convictions and had mental health issues.
“To his eternal shame, he completely lost any semblance of a moral compass,” Mr Binder told the court.
“Described by his closest friend as a broken man following his arrest, the signs are he was really broken long before that.”
During the trial, jurors heard that Schofield told his elder brother Phillip in September 2021 that he and the complainant had watched pornography together.
In a written statement read to the jury, Phillip Schofield described how his brother came to his home in London and they spent several hours talking and eating a meal before he went to do the washing up.
The TV star told how his brother said “You are going to hate me for what I am about to say”, with him assuring him there was nothing he could say that would do that.
Mr Schofield said in the statement: “Then he said that he and (the boy) had time together and that last year they had watched porn … and (masturbated).
“I turned and said, ‘What did you just say?’ He said it was last year and we were alone together. Tim said it was just this once. I told him it should never happen again.
“I said, ‘F***, stop’. I shouted at Tim that he had to stop. I didn’t want to know any of the details but he made it sound like a one-off.
“I said, ‘I don’t want you to tell me any more’. I said, ‘You’ve got to stop, just never do it again. Regardless how that happened, it must never happen again’.”
In a statement released by his lawyer after the guilty verdict, the This Morning host said: “My overwhelming concern is and has always been for the wellbeing of the victim and his family. I hope that their privacy will now be respected.
“If any crime had ever been confessed to me by my brother, I would have acted immediately to protect the victim and their family.
“These are despicable crimes, and I welcome the guilty verdicts. As far as I am concerned, I no longer have a brother.”
Timothy Schofield was convicted of three counts of causing a child to watch sexual activity, three of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, three of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and two of sexual activity with a child.
Speaking outside Bristol Crown Court following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Keith Smith of Avon and Somerset Police described Schofield’s offending as “sickening”.
Schofield was arrested, interviewed and charged within 48 hours of the offences being reported to the force in December 2021.
He was dismissed without notice during a misconduct hearing held after his criminal convictions and will now be placed on a national barred list preventing him from working in law enforcement in the future.
Det Insp Smith said: “The victim in this case has shown remarkable bravery in disclosing the horrific offences committed against them, and their support of the police investigation and court process has been invaluable.
“We hope their courage and determination will encourage other victims of sexual abuse to come forward and speak to the police, no matter how long ago the offences were committed.”
He said the offences committed by Schofield were not connected to his employment with the police but the fact he was a member of police staff will be “of great concern” to the public.
“It’s important to stress that before the allegations were made to the police in December 2021, there were no prior complaints or allegations made about this defendant, and his former colleagues have been horrified by the offences he’s now been convicted of,” Det Insp Smith added.
“But we want to be absolutely clear, we’re on a mission to root out all those who betray the standards and values we’re committed to uphold. The public must be able to trust police officers and staff, and protecting this bond of trust is our priority.
“Finally, we want to thank all those who supplied us with information and evidence in support of our investigation, which has ultimately enabled us to achieve justice for the victim in this case.”