Search

Sickened: Former friend of rapist priest Eugene Fitzpatrick tells of her horror at what he did

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:24 01 June 2017

Maddie and father Eugene Fitzpatrick on her wedding day.

Maddie and father Eugene Fitzpatrick on her wedding day.

Archant

A former friend of rapist priest Eugene Fitzpatrick is in shock after learning the man who regularly visited her family home had been abusing children for decades.

Eugene Fitzpatrick Eugene Fitzpatrick

Maddie Noonan, 59, said had she stayed in the area she wouldn’t have thought twice about leaving her children with the popular cleric of Our Lady and Saint Joseph in Balls Pond Road.

Fitzpatrick, 68, was sentenced to 22 years in jail on Friday after being found guilty of raping a boy between 1986 and 1992 while working at the church, and sexually assaulting another in the 1960s and ’70s.

Police believe there may be more survivors of his abuse, and have urged anyone suffering in silence to come forward.

Fitzpatrick was a close friend of Maddie and her family, who lived a stone’s throw from Our Lady and Saint Joseph. To her, he was the friendly parish priest who restored her faith in the Catholic church.

But she now knows that in the period he was stopping by at her family home, he was also raping a child.

“I’m horrified,” Maddie, 59, told the Gazette. “That he denied it, he’s even more disgusting. It must have taken a lot of courage for those people to come forward. It’s absolutely disgusting.

“He was the local parish priest. We lived in Balls Pond Road and moved to Mildmay Park. He married me and he was a very close friend of my grandmother. He was always in our house, we loved him.”

Maddie, who now lives in Ireland, said Fitzpatrick left the church “overnight” in the early 1990s. She now plans to write to him to tell him what she thinks.

“I was very close to him as an adult,” she continued. “I had lost faith in the Catholic church many times, based on stories like this. Eugene was the one person that restored my faith.”

Fitzpatrick, of Canterbury, was withdrawn from ministry in 2006. He was found guilty of 11 counts of indecent assault and indecency with a child relating to the first victim, for which he received a total of five years. The first attack took place in 1965 in Tufnell Park when he was 17 and the victim under eight.

He was jailed for 17 years for raping the second victim, of which he was guilty on two counts. The two terms will be served consecutively.

Fitzpatrick, who had denied all charges, was also ordered to sign the sex offender register for life.

Investigating officers Det Cons Lorraine Simpson and Klementina Balint, said: “There may be additional survivors who continue to suffer in silence. I urge anyone who has been abused by Eugene Fitzpatrick to contact police.”

The NSPCC echoed the police’s calls and said by pleading not guilty, Fitzpatrick had forced his brave victims to relive their ordeal.

The Diocese of Westminster has said it cooperated with police on the investigation and has stripped Fitzpatrick of his priesthood.

A spokeswoman said: “The Diocese of Westminster is deeply sorry for the hurt that he caused to his victims, their families and the wider community, and acknowledges the gravity of the abuse he inflicted as is reflected in the severity of the sentence.

“The diocese is committed to the safeguarding of all children and vulnerable adults in its care.

“Over the past two decades, in conjunction with the Catholic Church in England and Wales, robust safeguarding policies and procedures have been developed and put in place across parishes, schools and agencies of the diocese to provide better protection for children and vulnerable adults in its care.

“If anyone has any concerns of a safeguarding nature involving the Diocese of Westminster, they are asked to contact the authorities or the Diocesan Safeguarding Coordinator.”

Contact the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command by dialling 101.

Latest Islington News Stories

59 minutes ago

Thousands of people returned to Caledonian Road for its glorious street party yesterday.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Barnard Park in Barnsbury is one of Islington’s biggest – and therefore most important – green spaces. Naturally, people have been quarrelling about it from the very offset. The Gazette looks through the archives to see how the park developed.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The chapel at Islington’s Trent Park Cemetery in Cockfosters had to close because its windows kept getting smashed – but will be open on Father’s Day.

Friday, June 15, 2018

A huge project to build a social housing block on the Golden Lane estate will go ahead after the council agreed to fund it with £7million of unspent Right to Buy cash.

Friday, June 15, 2018

It’s the 10th anniversary of Ben Kinsella’s senseless murder on June 29. The anti-knife crime trust set up in his name is marking the tragedy with a 10k walk in his memory.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Seven film club pupils from Vittoria Primary School in Barnsbury made their own film – and had it shown in Paris at the Cinémathèque Française, the French equivalent of the BFI.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Robbery offences increased by 73 per cent in Islington in the past year, new figures show.

Friday, June 15, 2018

A conman from Highbury has been jailed for his part in tricking elderly and vulnerable people into withdrawing money.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now