[The] protestations [of Harold Davidson, the “Prostitute’s Padre”] that he had been ‘entrapped’ by two press photographers were in all likelihood true. Offered money for posing with one of his young fifteen-year-old friends, he may naïvely have believed that publicity photos would be beneficial after the trial. The verdict of the court on 8 July surprised no one: guilty on all five counts of immoral conduct. Although formally deprived of his holy orders, Davidson continued to protest his innocence, and appealed twice to the privy council. He also tried to state his case at a meeting of the church assembly in 1936: Cosmo Gordon Lang, the archbishop of Canterbury, told him he had no right to speak.
Notoriety unfortunately dogged Davidson until his tragic death. Faced with the need for another source of income, and showing how deep-seated was his theatrical bent, Davidson decided to use his reputation to draw the crowds at fairgrounds and circuses. He was first employed as part of the freak show on Blackpool’s golden mile, and was exhibited in a barrel or roasted in a glass oven while a devil prodded him with a pitchfork. ‘While I am in the barrel I shall be occupied in preparing my case’ he told the press (Parris, The Times). In 1937, as his popularity was starting to wane, Davidson was forced to sign up with a menagerie at Skegness amusement park. Billed as ‘A modern Daniel in a lion’s den’, he was expected to enter a cage holding two lions, and talk for ten minutes about the lack of justice in his case. Unfortunately, Davidson was badly mauled by one of the lions on 28 July. He was rescued, but died on 30 July 1937, in Skegness. He was buried in the churchyard at Stiffkey.