A Church of England minister has been jailed for historic sexual assaults on teenage girl.

Justice caught up with Thomas De Lacey more than 30 years after he committed the sexual offences, while he was in training to become a clergyman.

Thomas De Lacey, 77, was jailed at Preston Crown Court Sessions House today (Friday, March 1) for four years.

The court heard how De Lacey was a trainee Church of England minister when he twice indecently assaulted a girl who was visiting his house in Preston to help with a church matter.

The victim kept what happened to herself before summoning up the courage in 2022 to make a complaint via the Diocese of Blackburn safeguarding team who then alerted police.

Officers started an investigation which led to De Lacey being interviewed and charged.

De Lacey, now of The Hawthornes, Rufford, was found guilty by a jury after a five-day trial in February of two offences of indecent assault of a girl under the age of 14.

Judge Graham Knowles KC, sentenced De Lacey to four years imprisonment and ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

The judge also banned De Lacey from working with children for life.

Simon Morris, an investigation officer with Lancashire Police’s Major Crime Review Team, said: “De Lacey carried out these offences three decades ago, but justice has finally caught up with him.

“The victim was a young girl when she was assaulted by De Lacey and she bravely came forward as an adult to report what had happened.

“Lancashire Police are committed to investigating allegations of this nature no matter how long ago they happened.

“Anyone who has been the victim of a sexual offence will be treated sensitively.”