News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

PA/PA Wire
UK News

Fresh details on Bishop George Bell triggers new investigation

by Tola Mbakwe

The Church of England's National Safeguarding Team said it received "fresh information" concerning the former Bishop of Chichester, who died 60 years ago.

The new information, which has not been disclosed to the public, comes after the publication of the Carlile Review, which found the Church was too quick to accept the allegations of the Bishop Bell's complainant "without serious investigation or inquiry".

The Church said it will commission an "independent investigation" of the developments, adding: "As this is a confidential matter we will not be able to say any more about this until inquiries have concluded."

Sussex Police said: "The information will be assessed in order to establish what further inquiries need to be made."

Neither the force or the Church has confirmed whether the information contains a new allegation against Bell. So far the woman, only known as Carol, has been the only complainant in the case.

The Church's inquiry into the allegations was criticised for failing to investigate the victim's claims or seek witnesses who had known or worked for Bishop Bell during his tenure as Bishop of Chichester between 1929 and 1958.

The inquiry led to a statue planned for Canterbury Cathedral to celebrate his work in helping rescue Jewish children from Germany during the Second World War being scrapped.

His name was removed from a room at the University of Chichester and another building in the town renamed.

Lambeth Palace commissioned the review of the original investigation after Bishop Bell's supporters said not enough was done to substantiate the complainant's allegations.

Lord Carlile said his review was not to establish the truth of Carol's claims, but to investigate the Church's handling of the case and establish best practice for handling future complaints.

He said a trained legal professional should be involved in future investigations into child sexual abuse and advocates should represent both the complainant and the dead member of the clergy.

He recommended where a settlement was reached without admission of liability, the identity of the alleged abuser should be confidential.

But Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby disagreed and said the Church was "committed to "transparency".

Supporters who form The George Bell Group said his memory was "thoroughly vindicated" by the findings.

On Wednesday Bishop Peter Hancock, who leads on safeguarding for the Church, said everyone would like the matter to "come to a conclusion" and the Church had accepted the "main thrust" of Lord Carlile's recommendations and was developing an "action plan".

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £8 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £8 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.