Ex-BBC presenter Peter Rowell admits sex charges

Peter Rowell arriving at Bristol Crown Court
Image caption Mr Rowell presented the afternoon show on BBC Radio Bristol

Former BBC and ITV presenter Peter Rowell has pleaded guilty to 12 charges of indecent assault on girls under the age of 16.

Rowell, 53, also pleaded guilty to six charges of making indecent pictures of children and one charge of possessing indecent pictures of children.

He pleaded not guilty to a charge of rape and the Crown accepted an alternative charge of indecent assault.

Rowell, from Wickwar, near Bristol, appeared at the city's crown court.

He spoke only to confirm his name and enter his pleas, and was remanded in custody until he is sentenced on 2 March.

The court was told the assaults occurred between 1989 and the early 1990s when his five victims were all under 16 years old.

Ian Fenny, prosecuting, told Judge David Ticehurst: "Your Honour is right to say that this defendant accepts all the serious allegations against him."

He added that the prosecution accepted four not guilty pleas, including to one rape charge for which they accepting the alternative charge of indecent assault on the same victim.

Nationwide search

Defending, Edward Burgess told the court his client was aware a custodial sentence would follow.

Judge Ticehurst said it was "only right" that Rowell's victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, should come to court to see him sentenced.

The broadcaster sparked a nationwide search after failing to turn up for work in March 2011.

His car had been found left in a supermarket car park in Yate.

The father-of-one was found "safe and well" the next day in Keswick, Cumbria, and was later arrested by police.

Before his disappearance police had raided his home and seized his computer.

On that computer detectives found more than 400 indecent images of children.

Rowell, originally form Sunderland, presented the afternoon show on BBC Radio Bristol and BBC Somerset.

He was also a news bulletin reader on ITV West for more than 10 years and worked as a DJ for commercial radio station GWR in the 1980s.

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