A RESPECTED town funeral director has appeared in court charged with a string of alleged sex assaults on young boys.
Gerald Martin – who owns Mason and Gerald Martin Funeral Directors, in Park Road, Hartlepool – appeared before town justices to face 10 historical sexual charges dating back decades.
The 64-year-old pleaded not guilty to all of the counts.
Martin, of Valley Close, West Park, Hartlepool, is accused of five attempted serious sexual assaults, and five charges of indecent assault, against two boys.
Martin was a child at the time of some of the alleged offences and the alleged victims were said to have been of school age.
Dressed smartly in a dark-coloured suit and wearing glasses, Martin spoke only to confirm his identity and to announce a plea of not guilty to all of the offences.
No details of the alleged crimes were read out.
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Peter Charlton sent the case to be dealt with at Teesside Crown Court, in Middlesbrough, where the next hearing will be on July 23.
Martin was released on unconditional bail and left the court hearing at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court yesterday clutching a bible and a wooden cross.