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OAP accused of sex assaults 'a pillar of community'

PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 February 2010 | UPDATED: 13:34 16 March 2010

A SUFFOLK pensioner accused of sexually assaulting two schoolgirls more than 30 years ago has been described in court as an “outstanding member of the local community.

A SUFFOLK pensioner accused of sexually assaulting two schoolgirls more than 30 years ago has been described in court as an “outstanding member of the local community.”

John Suttle, 77, of Skates Hill, Glemsford, has denied seven offences of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child in relation to the older sister and one offence of indecent assault in relation to the younger girl.

It has been alleged Suttle kissed the older girl when she was 11 and then sexually assaulted her on a regular basis during the next three years, at her home, his home or at a holiday cottage on the Suffolk coast.

It is also alleged he kissed the younger sister at a barbecue when she was 13, but had not tried again after she pushed him away.

Suttle, an electrician, chose not to give evidence during his trial, but yesterday the court heard more than 20 testaments to his good character from friends and acquaintances who either spoke from the witness stand or had their statements read to the court by defence barrister Stephen Dyble.

The Rev Patrick Prigg, the rector of Glemsford church, described Suttle as “an outstanding member of the community” and said he was “trustworthy and reliable.”

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Farmer told the court he had known Suttle for 26 years. He was a “fine man” and “no man has done more than him for the local community”.

He said Suttle had spent time at his home and his family had nothing but high regard for him.

The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdicts today.

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