THE case of a former BBC reporter accused of sexually abusing young boys has been put on hold indefinitely.

Clifford Luton is charged with two counts of indecent assault against three alleged victims in the 1970s and ’80s, but he has been deemed unfit to enter a plea or stand trial due to age-related mental health problems.

The 89-year-old was not present as Judge Harrow imposed a stay of proceedings at Bournemouth Crown Court yesterday.

Prosecutor Kerry Maylin said: “Mr Luton faces two indictments concerning alleged indecent assaults against three males aged under-16 between 1971 and 1984, and additional counts relating to indecent images discovered when these charges came to light last year.

“There have been concerns over his fitness to plead, and a defence psychiatric report was served to the Crown some time ago.

“The Crown felt that bearing in mind the recent charge for indecent images we would engage our own report.

“This too indicated that he was unfit to plead and to stand trial due to his age and deteriorating health.”

She said any form of discharge would be inappropriate as the Crown beli-eved there was enough evidence available that a jury might reach a guilty verdict, and she invited the judge to stay the case.

Judge Harrow said: “I have read the case very carefully and understand the prosecution’s point of view.

“Without having any disregard for the alleged victims in this case I am going to stay both indictments.”

The case will lie on the court files. Luton, of Ashley Road, Poole, will not face the charges again unless he is deemed fit to plead in the future and the case is reactivated by either Judge Harrow or the Court of Appeal.

Luton worked for the BBC in the 1960s and ’70s reporting on major issues for the time, including the troubles in Northern Ireland, the ‘cod wars’ with Iceland, the attempted kidnapping of Princess Anne, and the Lebanese Civil War.

He also worked for the Daily Mail, for whom he interviewed infamous historian David Irving in the 1950s.