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Bury St Edmunds/London: Suffolk man Richard Alston, 69, and Charles Napier, 67, appear in court on historic child sex charges

PUBLISHED: 13:38 29 July 2014 | UPDATED: 16:52 29 July 2014

Two in court on historic child sex charges. Photo PA

Two in court on historic child sex charges. Photo PA

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A 69-year-old Bury St Edmunds man and the half-brother of a senior Essex Conservative MP have appeared in court accused of historic child sex offences.

Richard Alston, of Vinery Road, Bury St Edmunds, is accused of five counts of indecent assault and three counts of gross indecency with a child.

Charles Napier, 67, from Dorset, is accused of one count of inciting a child to commit an act of gross indecency. He is the half-brother of Maldon MP John Whittingdale.

The charges date back to the late 1970s and concern an alleged victim who was 11 years old at the time.

Both men appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London today. Their cases were committed to Southwark Crown Court where they are next scheduled to appear on August 12.

Their conditional bail was renewed.

The pair, smartly dressed in jackets and ties, spoke only to confirm their names and dates of birth and that they understood what was happening.

They were arrested last year under Operation Cayacos, a strand of a wider investigation which was launched following claims by MP Tom Watson.

In 2012 Mr Watson used parliamentary privilege to claim that a file of evidence used to convict Peter Righton of importing child pornography in 1992 contained “clear intelligence” of a sex abuse gang.

He wrote to Scotland Yard, who launched criminal investigation Operation Fairbank, which has since spawned two more inquiries - Fernbridge, which is looking at claims linked to the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south west London, in the 1980s, and Cayacos.

Mr Whittingdale said when the men were charged: “I am aware that my half- brother has been charged with an offence alleged to have occurred over 35 years ago.

“I have no knowledge of this, particularly as I had only just left school at that time.

“However, obviously I recognise that this is a serious matter and that the law must take its course.”

The founder of a charity that supports sexually abused children in Suffolk has given an insight into what it’s like working in this harrowing field as the organisation marks its fifth birthday.

Family and friends have raised a glass for Muriel ‘Midge’ Barker – who celebrates her 106th birthday on Friday

Essex Police are hunting a man wanted in connection with offences including assault, attempted GBH, burglary, theft of vehicles and making off without payment.

Parents have been urged to read more often to their children after research found almost half feel they do not set a good example at home across East Anglia.

A woman and three teenagers have appeared in court charged with Class A drugs offences in Ipswich.

A new housing plan set up to oversee the building of just under 10,000 new homes in Ipswich by 2031 sparked a heated debate at a full council meeting tonight as several councillors had their say.

Concerned members of the public phoned police today reporting that a fight had broken out between a large group of children.

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