ONE of two victims of child abuse, allegedly committed by a former Bury priest, broke down in tears in court as he accused the man of wrecking his life.

The reformed heroin addict, who is now aged 29, was just a primary school pupil when he claimed to have suffered at the hands of Father John McCollough. He came face-to-face with his alleged abuser for the first time today (Tuesday) as he entered the dock to give evidence.

In an emotionally charged opening of a Crown Court trial, the male, who cannot be named, shouted at McCollough: "Why? Why? You don't know what you have done to me. You don't know what I have lost. And you just stand there and look at me like that!"

The jury of seven men and five women earlier heard how McCollough had been charged with eleven counts of indecent assault and one act of gross indecency with a child. The offences are alleged to have taken place against two boys while McCollough was an Anglican rector at Christ the King with Holy Trinity Church in Bury during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

McCollough his alleged to performed sexual acts with both youngsters who were members of the parish.

Mr Maurice Greene, prosecuting, said in one incident, a young boy was sexually assaulted by McCollough in London during a trip to Lourdes in France. On another occasion, the same victim was indecently assaulted when he stayed at the vicarage in Spring Street, Bury.

In court, the victim told the jury: "I used to stay at the vicarage virtually every weekend. There wasn't a weekend that went by when he did do something to me."

He added: "I didn't tell my mum because I didn't want to bring any hurt into our family. I felt ashamed, embarrassed and thought people were going to laugh at me."

McCollough, who now lives in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, worked in Bury between 1985 and 1995, but he left in 1997 to become a Catholic priest. He is currently a priest at St Vincent's Church in Dagenham, but he was put in administrative leave following a police investigation into the boys' allegations. A probe was launched in December 2006 when the pair, now young men, approached police.

The first victim said he only came forward after the truth about the three years of abuse by McCollough (63) came out during an argument with his girlfriend. He was eventually persuaded by his mum to report the abuse. He said: "I also decided to go to the police because he could be doing this now to some other kids. I couldn't live with that on my conscience."

The victim said he turned to heroin at the age of 15 because of the "damage he did to my head." He admitted he has been clean for the past three and half years.