East Morton pianist arrested as fresh abuse claims are made

Renowned concert pianist John Briggs, who is accused of historic sex abuse against boys, has been re-arrested after new allegations were made against him.

Briggs, 65, has been interviewed by detectives after another man contacted West Yorkshire Police with fresh claims of abuse.

The internationally-known musician was arrested on Tuesday evening and questioned about the new allegations before being released on bail pending further inquiries.

Briggs, of Little Lane, East Morton, near Keighley, who was awarded an MBE for his community work a decade ago, appeared at Bradford Crown Court last week, facing a string of sex charges. He was accused of three offences of indecent assault against boys under 16; indecently assaulting a male aged 16 or over; and committing an act of gross indecency with or towards a boy under the age of 14.

He previously indicated that he would plead not guilty to the charges.

The offences are alleged to have taken place at his home in the early 1990s and involved two boys under 16 and a male over that age. It is understood that since media coverage of his court appearance, other alleged victims from around the country have contacted police.

One of them claimed the pianist had indecently assaulted him during piano lessons more than 30 years ago.

Yesterday, a police spokesman said: “A 65-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of the sexual touching of a male, alleged to have occurred in the late 1970s. He was interviewed and has been released on bail pending further inquiries.”

At last week’s crown court hearing, Briggs' barrister, Nick Askins, said it would be disputed whether the alleged offences occurred.

A date next February has been fixed for a ten-day trial, but Briggs, accompanied to court by a smartly-dressed, middle-aged woman, is due to appear for a plea and case management hearing on October 18. Briggs has played at prestigious musical venues across the world, including the ancient city of Petra, at the request of the Queen of Jordan.

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