The doors to a church that a caged paedophile attended before his sordid dealings in child rape and pornography were exposed will still be open to him when he is released from jail.
Grandfather Michael Eller was sentenced to 14 years behind bars last month for directing the filmed rapes of children via Skype.
The twisted former churchgoer and community volunteer could not resist committing the crimes even though he knew police had installed monitoring equipment on his computer following his conviction in August 2012 for the possession of indecent images of children.
Despite his sickening actions – dubbed ‘cold hearted cruelty beyond comprehension’ by the judge overseeing the latest case – churchwarden David Pearce, from Berkhamsted’s St Peter’s Church, said: “The church is closed to nobody whatever they have done, but the church is obviously horrified and upset by what has happened.
“The proper response to all of these things is that love goes out to the people.
“Of course if he ever comes out we shall take him back, if he wants to come back.”
Mr Pearce, who previously contacted the Gazette to suggest that an article about Eller’s first conviction – for the possession of indecent images of children – should not be printed or at least toned down, said: “He will be in our prayers and I dare say that the rector may even visit him.
“You don’t lose sight of people just because of what they have done, that is just not what the church is about. But on the other hand the church is not condoning anything that has gone on.”
He revealed that Eller, of Plover Close, Berkhamsted, stopped attending church after his first offence was exposed.
Before this Eller was well respected among the church community and carried out charity work for the underprivileged and homeless.
“His church life and his private life were obviously quite separate,” said Mr Pearce.
“One doesn’t entirely know people from acquaintance with them.”
Mr Pearce reached out to Mr Eller’s wife, who has not attended church since her husband’s first arrest.
“His poor wife is obviously suffering very much,” said Mr Pearce. “The congregation will certainly wrap its arms around her if she comes back.
“She is the innocent party and she is devastated.”