Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting KNEWS to 80360, or email
Former Keighley vicar faces sex charges
A vicar who spent many years working on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway has been accused of a string of sex offences against a boy.
The Reverend Peter Hedge appeared before magistrates via a video link from Wakefield Prison, where the court was told he was serving a “significant” custodial sentence.
The Bench at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates’ Court was told bespectacled, clean-shaven Hedge, 50, faced a total of ten charges.
They were alleged to be historical offences relating to the same boy.
The charges included raping a male under 16, three of committing a serious sexual assault on a boy under 16, three of gross indecency with a boy under 16 and three of indecent assault.
All were alleged to have been committed at Bradford on dates ranging from January 21, 1991, to January 21, 1995.
Hedge volunteered for the Worth Valley railway for 25 years as a member of its civil maintenance team. He was also part of the railway's Young Persons and Vulnerable Adults Policy Group, which did not involve day-to-day work with young people. None of the charges centre around the railway.
Balding Hedge, who was dressed in an open-neck shirt, grey jumper and grey trousers, bowed to the camera as the hearing was explained to him.
He sat with his hands clasped together during the five-minute hearing and spoke clearly in response to questions by the court clerk.
Asked if his current address was HMP Wakefield, he replied: “It is, sir.”
After the charges were outlined, the clerk told magistrates they were indictable-only offences, and said they could only send Hedge to the crown court at Bradford.
Prosecutor, Paul Ramsey, applied for the case to be sent to the crown court under section 51 of the Crime and Disorder Act. He said the defendant was a serving prisoner and asked for him to be remanded in custody.
Hedge’s solicitor, Ashok Khular, said his client was serving a significant custodial sentence and any application for bail would be superfluous.
Chairman of the Bench, Audrey Nossig, told Hedge his case would be sent to crown court, and he would next appear there by video link tomorrow. She added that, as a serving prisoner, he would be remanded in custody until then.
Asked by Miss Nossig if he understood, Hedge replied: “I do, your worship. Thank you.”