Ex-BBC man appears in court on sex abuse charges

 

A former BBC presenter has said he “strenuously denies” sexual offences against children, claiming that his links to the corporation attracted undue attention.

Michael Souter, 59, of Low Bungay Road, Loddon, Norfolk, has been charged with 18 offences relating to boys, plus an offence against a man and one against a woman.

The charges relate to six different boys, including under-14s, and two adults and include serious sexual offences and indecent assault.

The offences are alleged to have happened in Norfolk between 1979 and 1999.

The alleged offences date between 1979 and 1999 and happened in Norfolk.

The earlier charges overlap with Souter's career at the BBC in the 1980s, during which he helped launch Radio Norfolk including a stint presenting the breakfast show.

Speaking after his first appearance at Norwich Magistrates' Court this morning, Souter said: "I am well aware this case is a stressful experience for almost everybody concerned, not just me. Irrespective of innocence or guilt, people have judged me before one word has been given in evidence in a court of law.

"Many people wonder how much coverage would have been given both in the UK and around the world if the letters 'BBC' had not formed part of my CV.

"The support of my friends and family, during what has been an extremely difficult period, has been overwhelming and humbling and I cannot thank them enough for their support.

"I would just ask that nobody else jumps to any conclusions before the evidence has been heard.

"I look forward to being able to prove my innocence and put this awful episode behind me."

During the 10-minute hearing in which Souter did not enter a plea, defence solicitor Alun Jones said: "My client is a well-known local journalist and is very well known in the area. He now works as a freelance travel writer.

"It has long been his habit to stay in Spain for the winter.

"There are no grounds to believe that Mr Souter is going to abscond."

District Judge Peter Veits ordered that Souter appear at Norwich Crown Court on December 14.

He extended Souter's bail with no restrictions on foreign travel but Souter is not allowed any contact with under-16s without the presence of an adult, or to contact any witnesses.

PA

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