Vicar Cleared Of Sexual Assaults

27 September 2017, 17:37

Guy Bennett Vicar To The Stars

A retired "vicar to the stars" has been cleared of committing a string of sexual assaults against young girls during church concerts, Sunday school outings or while teaching them religious studies in his local parish.

A retired "vicar to the stars" has been cleared of committing a string of sexual assaults against young girls during church concerts, Sunday school outings or while teaching them religious studies in his local parish.

Guy Bennett, 84, was accused of touching the girls while working as the Rector of St Mary's parish church in Oxted, Surrey, from the 1970s to the early 1990s.

But after a trial that lasted 11 days, the jury at Guildford Crown Court took just three hours and 41 minutes to acquit him of 24 counts of indecent assault between 1975 and 1991 against 11 victims, and one count of outraging public decency.

Mr Bennett, of East Grinstead, Surrey, denied all the charges against him, saying that any touching was inadvertent and had no sexual intent.

The former vicar stood in the dock making a note, and showed no reaction as the verdicts were read, but hugged a family member after he was released from the dock.

Mr Bennett was dubbed "vicar to the stars" while working as chaplain at the London Palladium - one of the capital's most famous theatres - between 1972 and 1998.

The venue regularly hosted the Royal Variety Performance and ITV's Live From The Palladium.