The 95-year-old from South Molton appeared at Birmingham Crown Court this morning to deny sex offences committed between 1954 and 1979.

A retired headteacher aged 95 has denied committing dozens of historic child sex offences between 1954 and 1979.

Jack Mount, from Devon, will now face trial by jury after pleading not guilty to a 50-count indictment at Birmingham Crown Court.

The pensioner, who was born in May 1919, faces nine counts of rape, seven of indecency with a child, 20 of indecent assault, and 14 other serious sexual offences.

The former head of the privately-run Brookside School, near Craven Arms, Shropshire, is alleged to have committed the offences against a total of 17 children aged between seven and 13.

Mount, of Paradise Lawn, South Molton, near Barnstaple, was granted conditional bail to appear for trial on a date to be fixed.

Judge Melbourne Inman QC allowed the pensioner, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, to remain seated as he entered pleas to the charges, which took the clerk 13 minutes to read to the court.

A shortened version of the charges was put to the former teacher, which did not include locations where the offences are alleged to have occurred.