A paedophile former Birmingham priest is set to die in prison after being jailed for 21 years for sexually abusing young boys for almost a quarter of a century.
James Robinson, 73, targeted vulnerable children, showering them with gifts before embarking on a campaign of abuse which lasted from 1959 to 1983.
He fled to America within days of the first victims speaking to police in 1985 – but finally faced justice when he was unanimously convicted of 21 sexual offences at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday.
Passing sentence, Judge Patrick Thomas QC, described Robinson as devious and manipulative and said he had “hidden himself away” in the US believing he was “beyond the reach of the law”.
“The offences you committed were unimaginably wicked and caused immense and long-lasting – we can only hope not permanent – damage,” the judge told him.
“You used, you abused your position of trust, your position of authority and total trust within the communities you moved to and from.
“You enjoyed, I have no doubt, selecting your victims, choosing vulnerable children.
“You enjoyed doing your best to groom them into accepting what you did to them.
“You were and are sufficiently devious, manipulative and bold to have got away with a highly-risky sequence of sexual encounters over a period of 25 years.”
Robinson, who was raised in Brownhills, Walsall, worked at churches across the Midlands, including Holy Family in Small Heath, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour at Rednal and Our Lady of Lourdes at Old Hill, Wolverhampton.
His trial heard details of how he abused six victims, now aged in their 40s, 50s and 60s, after turning his back on a professional boxing career in his early 20s to train for the priesthood.
Unusually, Robinson did not face charges relating to two of the six because they contacted the police after he was finally extradited last year.
Detectives later revealed a total of nine victims had come forward but three had not been able to come to court for “personal reasons”.
The former colliery blacksmith, whose full name is Richard John James Robinson, moved from parish to parish sexually abusing children, including two altar boys.
Jurors were told the paedophile used his status as a priest to gain “unfettered and unlimited” access to boys, giving them gifts and taking them on trips in his sports car.