Retired vice-principal accused of historic indecent assault charge

Lisburn Court
Lisburn Court

A retired grammar school vice principal was in court on Monday accused of indecently assaulting a female more than 20 years ago.

Francis Noel Stroud (70), a father of three from Sandymount Mews in Dunmurry, is charged with indecently assaulting a female on a date unknown between September 1 and December 31, 1994.

During a brief Preliminary Enquiry, a prosecuting lawyer claimed the legal papers “disclose a case to answer,” a submission which Stroud’s defence solicitor conceded.

The court clerk asked Stroud if he wished to comment on the charge or present evidence to the court whether by testifying himself or calling witnesses but he said “no, not at this time.”

Returning the case to Craigavon Crown Court” District Judge Rosie Watters released Stroud on his own bail of £500 and ordered him to appear before the higher court on 8 September for his arraignment.

During a legal aid application, Stroud’s solicitor revealed the retired teacher receives £1,400 from his teachers pension and a further £600 from his state pension as well as some additional funds relating to a few hours of “casual work,” adding however that he paid “significant maintenance” to his children.

Judge Watters reserved the granting of legal aid.

At the time of the allegations, Stroud was a maths teacher and vice principal at Hunterhouse College in south Belfast.