A 99-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting two children could be unfit to plead, a court has heard.

John Fitzwilliam, of Lynch Hill Park, Whitchurch, is charged with indecent assault of a girl under the age of 14 between July 2002 and May 2004, and assault of a girl under 13 by touching between July 2010 and July 2014.

Today (August 27), at a court mention, prosecution barrister Thomas Wilkins said: “Early yesterday the crown received a psychiatric report saying defendant unfit to plead.”

It comes after an earlier report concluded that it was “very clear” the defendant was fit to plead and stand trial.

Defence barrister Ms Knight said Fitzwilliam would not have a fair trial because of his physical and mild cognitive disabilities.

The court heard how the 99-year-old is “not quite bed ridden” but has not left him home in 4 years.

Fitzwilliam is said to need hoists to get him out of his bed and “needs help with just about everything from feeding to toileting”.

Her honour Judge J Miller QC questioned whether it was “really in the public interest to try someone who is now 99 and a half who has severe disablement” to “simply” give the two victims “affirmations that there allegations are correct”.

The case was adjourned until September 27, when it is “expected” that a “finding on unfitness” will be reached after further psychiatric reports are produced.

No pleas have yet been entered and Fitzwilliam was given unconditional bail.