Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Former children's TV presenter admits historic child abuse charge

87-year-old John Earle being helped into Exeter police station to sign the Sex Offenders' Register Credit: Irving of Exeter

A former children's television presenter has admitted sexually assaulting a boy almost 60 years ago.

Author and Dartmoor expert John Earle was a teacher and deputy head at Upcott House Preparatory School in Okehampton when the offences were committed against a boy aged nine to 13 between 1957 and 1961.

The school closed in the early 1960s and is now a country house bed and breakfast.

Earle went on to work in television and presented a children's programme called Treasure House between 1964 and 1965. He became a familiar figure on TV as co-presenter of the science show Tom-Tom from 1965 to 1970. He also narrated two Jackanory stories during the show's heyday in 1971.

He later ran the Dartmoor Expedition Centre until it was sold in 2016, becoming a leading expert in trekking on the moors.

Earle, aged 87, now of Upton Pyne, near Exeter, admitted six counts of indecently assaulting the same boy between September 1957 and August 1961.

The case at Exeter Crown Court was adjourned for medical reports, mainly related to the defendant's age.

The judge Mr Justice Dingemans ordered Earle to sign on the sex offenders' register immediately and said prison could be an option: "All sentencing options, including immediate imprisonment, will be available to the court."