Sex Abuse investigations: Stingemore case delayed again and Napier rebailed

Two developments have put back progress on two of  the Met Police’s investigations – Operation Fernbridge and Operation Cayacos.

Southwark Crown Court earlier this month postponed a hearing to decide whether John Stingemore was fit enough to stand trail. It will now be heard on June 27 – this Friday.

Both Stingemore and Tony McSweeney, a Roman Catholic priest, have pleaded not guilty to all charges against them. No date has been set for a trial until the matter is resolved.

And in Operation Cayacos, the police investigation set up after Tom Watson , raised the issue of new information on a paedophile ring run by the late Peter Righton in the Commons, no decision has been made whether to charge Charles Napier, the half brother of Tory MP John Whittingdale.

Instead he has been rebailed until early August pending further police investigations. Another man, Richard Alston, a former headmaster of a now closed independent boarding school in Gloucestershire has been rebailed as part of the investigation. Police originally arrested Napier in November 2012 and Alston in A\ugust 2013.

Richmond child sex abuse trial postponed

The trial of John Stingemore and Father Tony McSweeney – due to start on May 6 at Southwark Crown Court – has been postponed.

Southwark crown court today  said that there will be no hearing on the 6 May and that it is due to make a fresh announcement on future court dates on 13 June.

Exaro understands that 71 year-old Stingemore, the former officer in charge of the Grafton Close children’s home in the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames, is suffering from ill-health and was recently admitted to hospital.

Privately, sources close to the case have expressed fears that Mr Stingemore may not be fit enough to stand trial unless his health improves significantly.

Mr Stingemore’s solicitor was unavailable for comment this afternoon.

John Stingemore, of Stonehouse Drive, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, faces five charges of indecent assault, once count of taking an indecent image of a child, and one count of indecency with a child. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Father Tony McSweeney, a 66 year-old priest, faces two charges of indecent assault, three counts of making an indecent image of a child, one of taking an indecent image of a child, and a further count of possessing indecent images of children. Father McSweeney, of Old Brighton Road North, Pease Pottage, West Sussex, has also pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The charges had been brought following the Met police’s Operation Fernbridge. There is a back catalogue of stories explaining the Fernbridge operation on the Exaro website.

Date set for trial of Stingmore and McSweeney over Richmond child sex abuse

The trial of John Stingmore, the former deputy manager of Grafton Close children’s home in Richmond, and Father Tony McSweeney,a Roman Catholic priest, will take place at Southwark Crown Court on May 6 according to information given to a police witness.
Both have pleaded not guilty to all 14 charges against them following the Met Police’s Operation Fernbridge investigation.
Reporting restrictions were not lifted at the last committal hearing at Southwark Crown Court before Christmas so I am unable to report the arguments of why a trial date was not set then.

Stingemore and McSweeney plead not guilty to all charges in Richmond child sex abuse scandal

John Stingemore, the former deputy manager of Grafton Close  children’s home in Richmond and Father Tony McSweeney,a Roman Catholic priest have pleaded not guilty to all 14 charges against them following the Operation Fernbridge investigation. A report is on the Exaro News website

Stingemore,aged 72, has denied five charges of indecent assault, one of taking an indecent picture and one of indecency with a child. McSweeney, a 66 year old priest ,pleaded not guilty to seven charges,  two of indecent assault, three of making indecent images  of children , one of taking an indecent image of a child  and one of possessing indecent pictures of children.

 Five charges against  both men made during the initial hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court earlier this year were not pressed. They included a conspiracy with persons unknown to commit buggery and two counts of indecent assault against Stingemore and one case of indecent assault against McSweeney.
 No date has been fixed for the trial. The hearing was subject to reporting restrictions.
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