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OAP on indecency charges

A 67-year-old man wanted in England on charges of indecently assaulting a young girl more than 25 years ago has appeared before the High Court following his arrest by gardai.

British authorities are seeking the extradition of John Anthony Howell, who is facing five charges of indecently assaulting a young female on between 1979 and 1984. A European Extradition Warrant said the assaults were alleged to have started when the girl was nine years old.

The alleged assaults took place in Essex, the court heard.

The warrant also said the alleged victim, who is now aged in her early 40s, made a complaint against Howell in 2009.

If convicted, Howell, of Rathcabbin, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, faces a long jail sentence.

Detective Sgt Sean Fallon, of the Garda Extradition Unit, arrested Howell at his home in Co Tipperary on Tuesday.

Sgt Fallon said when he asked Mr Howell if he knew what the charges were about, Mr Howell replied "no".

The court said it was prepared to grant Howell, who was legally represented, bail on terms including that he lives at his address in Co Tipperary, sign on regularly with the gardai, surrender his travel documents and provide a surety of €2,000.

During yesterday's brief hearing Howell, dressed in a dark T-shirt and wearing sandals, spoke only to confirm his identity and acknowledge that he understood his bail conditions.

Mrs Justice Maureen Clark made the matter returnable before the High Court to a date later this month.