A FORMER vicar described by police as a “sexual predator” has been jailed after abusing a 13-year-old boy.

Maxwell Hallahan was sentenced to 21 months in prison for a string of offences against the youngster in the 1970s.

They took place while he was vicar at St Faith's Church in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, and followed a previous conviction for a similar offence in 2011.

The retired priest will also be subject to a ten-year notification on the Sex Offender Register and a Safeguarding Order.

Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wessex Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit (RASSO), Richard Powell, said: “Maxwell Hallahan abused his position of authority as vicar in his parish.

"He abused the boy, who is now an adult but was only 13 years of age when the abuse started, for a period of approximately three years between 1974 and 1977.

“Hallahan had already been convicted of similar offences in 2011. There is no doubt that he is a sexual predator who did not hesitate to take advantage of his position as a 'pillar of the society' at the time to abuse young boys.

“The victim in this case has shown great courage in coming forward after living with the memory of the abuse for all these years.

“This, we hope, will encourage anyone who has been the victim of such crime to report it to the police. CPS Wessex Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit works very closely with the police and relentlessly to bring these types of cases to court.

“We trust that this prosecution will bring some closure to the victim of this horrible crime.”