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Ipswich barber and speedway marshal John Fitch admits two child sex charges

08:00 29 February 2016

Star sport

John Fitch at the Barbers Shoppe in Tacket Street, Ipswich

Picture Owen Hines
EADT 25/3/08

Star sport John Fitch at the Barbers Shoppe in Tacket Street, Ipswich Picture Owen Hines EADT 25/3/08

A well-known Ipswich hairdresser and former top speedway starter-marshall has been warned he could be jailed when he is sentenced next month after admitting an indecent assault on a young girl.

John Fitch, who has been a barber in Ipswich town centre for more than 50 years, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday to two offences of indecent assault which took place in the 1990s.

The 77-year-old, of Fletchers Lane, Kesgrave, pleaded not guilty to three further offences of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child.

Prosecution counsel Lindsay Cox said the pleas to the charges were acceptable and the views of the complainant had been sought before reaching that decision.

Judge Martyn Levett directed the four offences which Fitch had denied should be left on the court file and not be proceeded with.

Adjourning sentence until March 23 for a pre-sentence report, Judge Levett told Fitch: “These offences are serious and I can’t rule out prison. It is for the sentencing judge to make that determination.”

He ordered Fitch, who is on conditional bail, to sign the sex offenders’ register and to co-operate with the preparation of the pre-sentence report.

Judge Levett directed the prosecution to obtain a victim personal statement before the next hearing and to prepare a sexual harm prevention order.

As well as being a well-known figure in Ipswich for decades, barber John Fitch has also been a familiar face in the speedway world.

In July 2014 he was part of the start-marshalling team at the world’s largest meeting, the British Grand Prix in Cardiff.

Fitch had previously been the starter marshall at Foxhall Stadium for around 20 years before stepping aside in 2009.

However, to many more people Fitch will be known for his hairdressing.

He began his career among the master barbers at Payne’s in St Margaret’s Street as a 15-year-old apprentice in 1953.

During his apprenticeship, Fitch was sent to Cyril Packer, a top hairdresser in London, before returning to Ipswich to carry on his career.

Fitch was charged in relation to the allegations on November 13 last year.

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