The brother of TV presenter Phillip Schofield has been found guilty of sexually abusing a teenage boy over a period of three years.
Timothy Schofield was convicted of 11 sexual offences involving a child between October 2016 and October 2019, including two of sexual activity with a child, following a trial at Exeter Crown Court.
The jury found him guilty on all counts with a majority of 10-2 after more than five-and-a-half hours of deliberation.
The 54-year-old, a civilian police worker from Bath, told the jury while giving evidence that he had watched pornography with the boy, whom he insisted was over the age of 16 at that time, and they had masturbated while sitting apart, but denied performing sexual acts on the teenager.
In a statement released by his lawyer after the guilty verdict, Phillip Schofield said: “My overwhelming concern is and has always been for the wellbeing of the victim and his family. I hope that their privacy will now be respected.
“If any crime had ever been confessed to me by my brother, I would have acted immediately to protect the victim and their family.
“These are despicable crimes, and I welcome the guilty verdicts. As far as I am concerned, I no longer have a brother.”
The boy, who alleged the offending started when he was 13, told the jury he felt “emotionally blackmailed” by Schofield and “forced” to participate in sexual activity.
He said: “I felt that emotionally there was no escape from what we had to do and I felt that there was a tremendous amount of pressure and expectation for me to fulfil what was being asked and wanted.”
Phillip Schofield described in a written statement how his brother had phoned him in an agitated and upset state, and Mr Schofield had invited him to drive to his home in London.
The court heard they spent several hours talking, including eating a meal, before he went to do the washing-up.
Mr Schofield said in the statement: “Then he said that he and (the boy) had time together and that last year they had watched porn … and (masturbated)”.
“I turned and said, ‘What did you just say?’ He said it was last year and we were alone together. Tim said it was just this once. I told him it should never happen again. He then started to tell me about (the boy’s) body.
“I said, ‘F***, stop’. I shouted at Tim that he had to stop. I didn’t want to know any of the details but he made it sound like a one-off.
“I said, ‘I don’t want you to tell me any more’. I said, ‘You’ve got to stop, just never do it again. Regardless how that happened, it must never happen again’.”
Giving evidence during the trial, the defendant told the jury he had been gay his “entire life” but had kept it “completely secret and hidden from everybody”.
He described this as “incredibly difficult” and told the court he had struggled with mental health problems for years.
The defendant wept as he was asked about phoning his famous brother before driving to his home in London.
Schofield wept as he said: “That’s correct. I was so alone.”
He insisted the teenager was “old enough” to choose to watch pornography with him.
He told the jury: “It was a consensual thing after the age of 16. He never in any way said no at all.”
He admitted searching for terms on a legal pornography website including “young boy teen sex” and “gay teen torrents”, but insisted he believed this would return results showing men aged between 18 and their early twenties.
Schofield denied the charges but was convicted of three counts of causing a child to watch sexual activity, three of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, three of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and two of sexual activity with a child.
Judge Mrs Justice Cutts remanded him in custody ahead of sentencing at Bristol Crown Court on May 19.
Avon and Somerset Police, where Schofield was employed, said a misconduct hearing will be held “as soon as possible”. The IT worker was suspended in December 2021.
Detective Inspector Keith Smith said: “This defendant has exploited and abused the victim by carrying out a sickening series of offences over a significant period of time.
“Although the defendant does not work in a public-facing role, and the offences are not linked to his employment, we know the fact he works for the police will be a matter of public concern.”
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Child sexual abuse can have devastating and long-lasting impact on a person’s life and Timothy Schofield’s actions were deeply harmful. We hope that the young man he targeted is receiving all the support he needs to move forward with his life.”
The NSPCC urged adults who are concerned about a child to contact firstname.lastname@example.org and young people to call Childline on 0800 1111.