Ipswich hairdresser and ex-Foxhall speedway starter facing child sex charges

John Fitch

John Fitch

A well-known Ipswich hairdresser and former top speedway starter-marshall is to appear in court next month to enter his plea to child sex charges.

John Fitch officiates at Foxhall Stadium in 2008

John Fitch officiates at Foxhall Stadium in 2008

John Fitch, who has been a barber in Ipswich town centre for more than 50 years, is facing five allegations dating back two decades.

The 77-year-old, of Fletchers Lane, Kesgrave, is accused of four indecent assaults and one charge of indecency with a child.

A bail hearing for Fitch was listed before Ipswich Crown Court on Friday after he had previously been remanded in custody.

Conditional bail was granted by Judge John Devaux.

A plea and case management hearing is now scheduled to take place at the same court on February 5 when Fitch is expected to enter pleas to the charges.

The allegations relate to the 1990s and a girl under the age of 13.

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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.

He continued to fill in the position when the person who took over was on holiday or unable to attend.

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 child sex allegations on November 13 last year and appeared before South East Magistrates Court the following day.

His case was then sent to the crown court.