Ex-West Sussex vicar arrives in UK to face sex assault charges
A former West Sussex vicar has appeared in court to answer sex assault charges after being flown to the UK under police guard.
Meirion Griffiths pleaded not guilty at Crawley Magistrates Court on Thursday, the same day his plane from Australia arrived at Heathrow Airport.
The 80-year-old of Coachwood Way in the Maddington area of Perth, Western Australia (pictured below) is accused of several indecent assaults against a girl then in her late teens during the mid-1970s.
It is also alleged he committed a number of indecent assaults against a woman then in her mid-twenties in 1982. All the alleged offences took place at various places in West Sussex.
Griffiths, who flew to the UK in police custody, has been remanded in custody to appear at Portsmouth Crown Court on 1st March.
An extradition warrant was issued by magistrates in Westminster in December 2016. Griffiths was arrested eleven months later in WA.
Detectives embarked upon an investigation after the allegations surfaced in 2014.
The alleged offences took place while Griffiths was the vicar at St Pancras Church of England congregation in Chichester.
In a statement, police said: "Throughout the investigation, Sussex Police have had full co-operation from the Chichester Diocese of the Church of England.
"Police emphasise that there are no current safeguarding issues or risks for anyone connected to St Pancras church."
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