Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham man, 101, on trial for child sex abuse

Ralph Clarke Image copyright Joe Giddens
Image caption Ralph Clarke does not have to sit in the dock during the court case

A 101-year-old man - believed to be the oldest defendant in British legal history - has gone on trial accused of child sex abuse.

Ralph Clarke denies 31 offences alleged to have been committed between 1974 and 1983 against three children.

Due to his age, Mr Clarke sat on the back row of Birmingham Crown Court rather than in the dock.

The court will also only sit for a maximum of four hours a day during the former lorry driver's trial.

Mr Clarke, of Holly Lane, Erdington, Birmingham, denies 17 charges of indecent assault, 12 offences of indecency with a child and two attempted serious sexual offences.

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He is alleged to have committed the offences against two girls and a boy, including one as young as seven.

At the start of the two-week trial, prosecutor Miranda Moore QC told jurors two of Mr Clarke's alleged victims walked into a police station in August last year to make a complaint against him.

Miss Moore told the jury: "What they were to tell the police was a history of a catalogue of serious sexual abuse."

Alleging that some of the abuse took place in a garage at Mr Clarke's then home, Miss Moore told the jury of six men and six women: "All three victims talk about being in a garden shed or workshop."

When Mr Clarke was questioned by police last December, the court heard, he made "limited admissions" to officers.

The trial continues.

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