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BBC host denies child sex claims

A former BBC presenter said he "strenuously denies" sexual offences against children, claiming his links to the corporation attracted undue attention.

Michael Souter, 59, of Loddon, Norfolk, has been charged with 18 offences relating to boys, plus an offence against a man and one against a woman.

The charges relate to six different boys, including under-14s, and two adults and include serious sexual offences and indecent assault. The alleged offences date between 1979 and 1999 and happened in Norfolk.

The earlier charges overlap with Souter's career at the BBC in the 1980s, during which he helped launch Radio Norfolk, including a stint presenting the breakfast show.

Speaking after his first appearance at Norwich Magistrates' Court, Souter said: "I am well aware this case is a stressful experience for almost everybody concerned, not just me.

"Irrespective of innocence or guilt, people have judged me before one word has been given in evidence in a court of law.

"Many people wonder how much coverage would have been given both in the UK and around the world if the letters 'BBC' had not formed part of my CV.

"The support of my friends and family, during what has been an extremely difficult period, has been overwhelming and I cannot thank them enough.

"I would just ask that nobody else jumps to any conclusions before the evidence has been heard.

"I look forward to being able to prove my innocence and put this awful episode behind me."

District Judge Peter Veits ordered that Souter appear at Norwich Crown Court on December 14.

He extended his bail with no restrictions on foreign travel but Souter, who did not enter a plea, is not allowed any contact with under-16s without an adult.

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