Pensioner accused of 21 sexual offences towards young boys

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple - Credit: Archant

Torrington man pleads not guilty at North Devon Magistrates’ Court.

A Torrington man pleaded not guilty to 21 charges of indecency towards young boys at North Devon Magistrates’ Court today (Friday).

72-year-old John Downing, of Penhallam, is charged with 14 counts of indecent assault and seven counts of gross indecency towards boys under the age of 14 between 1968 and 1975, and the case will now be heard at Exeter Crown Court.

Downing is alleged to have indecently assaulted the same boy on five occasions and to have committed four acts of gross indecency with him, as well as acts towards three other boys in that timescale.

Sitting magistrate Jane Kivlin sent the case to crown court due to the serious nature of the charges.

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Downing was granted unconditional bail. The trial will take place on September 20.

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