AN Andover children’s charity founder accused of rape and indecent assault has been charged with two more counts of gross indecency towards a girl under the age of 14.

Ronald Nicholson Bennett, of Launcelot Close, was due to stand trial at Salisbury Crown Court in January for four counts of historic indecent assault and one count of rape against a girl under the age of 16.

But the 72-year-old appeared in Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court facing a further two charges of gross indecency against a second girl during the 1980s.

At the hearing in January, the original charges against the Brave Hearts charity founder were reduced from four counts to three counts of indecent assault and one charge of rape.

Judge Susan Evans agreed to adjourn the trial for the additional offences to be investigated after the prosecution presented them as a bad character reference against the Pride of Andover winner.

As previously reported by the Advertiser, the original charges relate to offences which allegedly took place in Hampshire and East Anglia between 1983 and 1997.

The recent allegations are said to have taken place in Hampshire between 1981 and 1987.

He denies the charges of indecent assault and rape and has been released on unconditional bail to appear in Winchester Crown Court in March, where he will enter a plea against the charges of gross indecency.

Bennett formed the Brave Hearts Children’s Charity Association in Andover, to help children in need of assistance due to chronic disease, in 1991 when he was a security officer.

After receiving so many calls for help following an appeal in the Advertiser he decided to set up the Brave Hearts charity to improve the lives of youngsters in need of special equipment and support.

The organisation raised thousands of pounds and in 2007 Bennett was presented with a Pride of Andover award for fundraiser of the year by television presenter Esther Rantzen.