Guy Bennett (pictured) has been cleared of 24 counts of indecent assault
A retired ‘vicar to the stars’ was today cleared of a string a sexual assaults against young girls during church concerts.
Guy Bennett, 84, was accused of touching the girls while working as the Rector of St Mary’s parish church in Oxted, Surrey, from the 1970s to the early 1990s.
The sex attacks also allegedly took place during Sunday school outings and when he taught religious studies in the local parish.
But after an 11-day trial, a jury at Guildford Crown Court took less than four hours to clear him of 24 counts of indecent assault against 11 victims between 1975 and 1991.
Mr Bennett, from East Grinstead, West Sussex, had links to the late Princess Diana and was accused of using his position as a vicar and school to abuse young girls.
He was chaplain to the London Palladium from 1972 to 1998 which earned him the title ‘chaplain to the stars.’
The elderly man now uses a stick to walk and had previously written a book about his celebrity contacts.
He was also a friend of former Harrods boss Mohamed Al Fayed who lived in Oxted while Mr Bennett was rector there.
Al Fayed’s son Dodi was the boyfriend of Princess Diana when the pair were killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
A jury at Guildford Crown Court (pictured) took less than four hours to clear him of 24 counts of indecent assault against 11 victims
And following his trial, he was also acquitted of one count of outraging public decency after he denied all of the charges.
He claimed that any touching was inadvertent and that there was no sexual intent.
The former vicar stood in the dock making a note, and showed no reaction as the verdicts were read, but hugged a family member after he was released from the dock.
The jury had heard that Mr Bennett had previously admitted four counts of indecent assault in 1999 after ‘almost identical activity’ to his latest trial.
When he worked at the London Paladium, it regularly hosted the Royal Variety Performance and ITV’s Live From The Palladium.