PAEDOPHILE priest the Rev David Roberts has been sacked and banned for life from officiating by the Church of England.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been informed of the decision announced last week by the Bishop of Bath and Wells.

Roberts, 68, was suspended as priest-in-charge at St John’s Church, in Park Street, Taunton, after his victim reported the historic offences to the police.

Roberts, of Henley Road, Taunton, was later jailed for 12 years at Taunton Crown Court in December after he pleaded guilty to five charges of sexual assault in the early 1980s against a boy aged 13 to 15.

A Diocese of Bath and Wells spokesman said: “As a conclusion of legal procedures under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure 2003, the Bishop of Bath and Wells has pronounced that, with effect from last Thursday, the Rev David Roberts is prohibited for life from any ministry and has been removed from his office as priest-in-charge at Taunton, St John.”

At the time of Roberts’ conviction, the Bishop, the Rt Rev Peter Price, apologised on behalf of the Church to the victim, saying he was “dismayed” that he had “fallen so short of the very high standards expected of priests in the CofE”.

He added: “I am very sorry these offences were committed by a man in a position of trust – a trust he betrayed so badly.”

After the case, DC Andrew Daw praised the “courage and bravery” of the victim, adding: “Roberts was in a position of trust as a vicar and he abused that position, sexually abusing a vulnerable boy.”

The diocese is currently looking at ‘merging’ St John’s with St Mary Magdalene Church under a single benefice – St Mary’s vicar, the Rev Rod Corke, would also be the priest at St John’s.