April 2007

Guilty again of sex assault


A COMMUNITY campaigner whose son perished in the 1981 New Cross fire has been found guilty for a second time of sexually assaulting a schoolgirl.

George Francis, chairman of the New Cross Fire Parents’ Committee for 25 years, was last year found guilty on three charges of sexual assault.

But he faced a re-trial on a further two counts on which the jury could not agree.

On Wednesday he was found guilty on those two charges by a jury at Croydon Crown Court.

Francis was arrested at his home in Kent House Road, Sydenham, on September 30, 2005.

It followed allegations made by an 11-year-old girl, saying Francis had tried to kiss her on numerous occasions and touched her.

The first jury acquitted Francis on two charges of assaulting a second schoolgirl who claimed he tried to kiss her.

He strenuously denied all the allegations, claiming one girl had demanded £50 from him or she would say bad things about him.