The 97-year-old from South Molton was acquitted of 11 of 50 counts - but the judge ruled he was not fit to stand any further trials.

A 97-year-old former headteacher accused of historic child sex offences has been ruled unfit to stand trial.

Jack Mount was first accused of abusing children in the 1970s but was cleared of charges against him in four trials that decade.

He was charged with 50 sex offences spanning from 1954 to 1979 following an investigation by West Midlands Police in 2014.

The father-of-five, former head of the privately-run Brookside School in Shropshire, denied all counts against him.

Applications by Mr Mount’s defence team that his Parkinson’s disease, poor eyesight and hearing made him unfit to stand trial were repeatedly refused.

Mr Mount was acquitted of 11 charges against him following two trials at Barnstaple Crown Court, lasting five weeks each, this year.

Prosecutors planned to try Mr Mount for a third time in November but Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC ruled he was no longer fit.

Following the ruling at Exeter Crown Court, Mr Mount’s solicitor Adrian Roberts told the Press Association: “He is very relieved that matters have concluded in the way that they have.

“There were no convictions despite over 50 allegations. He is looking forward to spending what is left of his life in peace.”

The pensioner did not attend the short hearing.

Mr Mount was tried at Barnstaple Crown Court as it was close to his family home in South Molton, Devon, and allegations against him were split into multiple trials.

During his first trial, the court sat for two to three sessions of 45 minutes due to his medical conditions and he had an intermediary to assist him.

Cue cards were used to signal when Mr Mount required a break, or could not hear proceedings.

By his second trial, Mr Mount’s condition had deteriorated and the court was unable to sit for more than two 30-minute sessions per day.

Judge Mercer said: “Given the deterioration in his condition since January and the undisputed medical evidence of the progressive nature of his Parkinson’s disease I see no sensible prospect of him being able to participate in a further trial.

“In reaching this decision I am fully conscious of the complainants’ position but after two trials and having observed the defendant’s condition and its decline during the period of those trials I am quite clear that is the position we have reached.

“I order that the indictment against this defendant be stayed.”

The judge lifted reporting restrictions that prevented publication of the case until all trials were concluded.

Mr Mount faced three indictments, with the first made up of 50 charges - with some but not all of these featuring during the trials at Barnstaple Crown Court.

He was found not guilty of three rapes and one indecent assault, relating to two girls in the 1950s and 1960s, following the first trial in January and February.

The Second World War veteran was acquitted of two charges of buggery and six indecent assaults in the 1960s and 1970s after the second trial in April and May.

A jury was unable to reach verdicts on three counts of indecent assault, one of gross indecency and one of attempted buggery.

Prosecutors wished to retry Mr Mount on these charges, as well as counts relating to further complainants, in the third trial.

It is understood that some complainants in the trials this year also featured in proceedings against Mr Mount in the 1970s.

In 1971 a court found Mr Mount had no case to answer for allegations of abuse of boys, while he was found not guilty of sex offences following a trial in 1975.

Three years later, he was cleared of sex offences against girls. A judge directed not guilty verdicts in a retrial of Mr Mount in 1979.

In June 2015, Bristol Crown Court heard Mr Mount would be one of the oldest defendants to stand trial in Britain.

Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, observed: “In this case we are really sailing in uncharted waters.”

This year 101-year-old Ralph Clarke has appeared before Birmingham Crown Court charged with historic child sex offences.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said the prosecution of Mr Mount had been brought to an end by Judge Mercer’s ruling.

“In 2014 West Mercia Police forwarded a file of evidence to the CPS and, applying the Code for Crown Prosecutors, we decided that there was a realistic prospect of conviction for various sexual offences against Jack Mount and that it was in the public interest to prosecute him,” he said.