A PENSIONER is to stand trial later this year facing allegations of historic sexual abuse of two girls, said to have been committed over a 30-year period.

But the only question yet to be confirmed is to be the venue for the hearing.

Although the alleged offences, 13 counts of rape, seven of indecent assault and two other charges of sexual assault, are said to have taken place in the North-East, between 1975 and 2005, defendant Michael Ashton Kingsley-Holt now lives in Great Yarmouth, in Norfolk.

Durham Crown Court was told that the 68-year-old defendant is not in good health.

Appearing via video link from the offices of his firm of solicitors, he denied all 22 counts put to him during a plea hearing.

The case was adjourned for a trial, which is expected to last between five and six days, starting on Monday September 20.

But his counsel, Michael McNiff, said he would be applying to have the case heard at Norwich Crown Court, the nearest crown court to the defendant’s home, due to his health difficulties.

Judge James Adkin provisionally set the hearing date to fit in with Durham Crown Court listings but agreed to settle the question of venue at a further case management hearing, in the case on Friday April 9.

The defendant, of Lancaster Road, Great Yarmouth, was bailed to attend the trial, at which ever venue is agreed, but the judge excused him from attending the April 9 further case management hearing.