Police close sex abuse investigation into Bishop Bell

Neither of the two allegations against Bishop George Bell have been proven to a criminal standard
Neither of the two allegations against Bishop George Bell have been proven to a criminal standard

The investigation into Bishop George Bell has been closed by Sussex Police.

A new investigation into the deceased former Chichester Bishop began this year when a second allegation was made against him.

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner giving evidence to the inquiry SUS-180314-123034001

Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner giving evidence to the inquiry SUS-180314-123034001

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “On January 30 this year we received information from the Church of England concerning an allegation made against the late Bishop George Bell.

“The information was assessed and a proportionate investigation has been carried out to clarify the circumstances.

“This was done thoroughly and sensitively, although of course further police investigation or action is not possible as Bishop Bell died 60 years ago.

“The investigation was completed in March 2018.

“The matter is now closed as far as Sussex Police are concerned and the Church have been informed of this.”

Speaking at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse earlier this year, current Bishop of Chichester Dr The first accusation against Bishop Bell was not investigated by police. Instead there was an internal Church investigation.

The woman received compensation and an apology from the Church, as well as an apology from current Bishop of Chichester Martin Warner in September 2015.

A report by Lord Carlisle QC heavily criticised the Church’s investigation into this allegation.

The second allegation arose just before the IICSA began looking into the Diocese of Chichester.

Speaking at the inquiry, Bishop Warner accepted Lord Carlisle’s description of the investigation’s core group as ‘unmethodical and unplanned’.

Neither allegation against Bishop Bell was proven to a criminal standard.

Survivors of child sexual abuse can contact the inquiry’s Truth Project for support in a condiential setting. Visit: www.truthproject.org.uk.