A 95-year-old former parish priest accused of sexual abuse against six young boys appeared for the first time in court today (Thursday) to face the historic allegations.

John Murphy is accused of a string of 29 offences involving indecently assaulting the boys and inciting four of them to commit an act of gross indecency between 1960 and 1986.

Murphy, of Hillside Crescent, Horwich, Bolton, is alleged to have committed the offences in Liverpool and on camping trips in Ambleside and Kielder National Park Northumberland.

Natalie Cassidy, prosecuting, told Liverpool Magistrates’ Court magistrates that some of the charges involved him indecently assaulting some of the alleged victims during swimming lessons.

One of them was also allegedly indecently assaulted in a trailer on a school field.

Murphy, who was parish priest at St Alphonsus in Kirkdale, St Luke the Evangelist in Whiston and St Gabriel’s in Leigh, did not indicate a plea to the charges.

Ms Cassidy said that the allegations were not suitable for trial at the magistrates’ court and Murphy, who was walking with a stick and helped by a friend, was further remanded on bail to appear at the city’s crown court on January 2.