Man accused of abuse at Christian camp dies
Alex Williams Premier Media

Alex Williams Premier Media

A man accused of beating boys at Christian holiday camps in the UK has died at his home in Cape Town, South Africa.

John Smyth apparently died of a sudden heart attack following recent cardiac surgery, his family told the BBC.

It has been alleged the former lawyer sadistically abused teenagers at events run at Winchester College in Hampshire during the 1970s and 1980s.

From 1974 until 1981, Mr Smyth was chair of the Iwerne Trust, the group which organised the camps.

A Channel 4 documentary broadcast last year claimed the Trust did not inform police when it was made aware of the allegations against Smyth.

The Bishop of Guildford Rt Rev Andrew Watson came forward in February 2017 to claim he survived one occasion of abuse at the hands of John Smyth.

Mr Smyth’s death comes after police in Hampshire reportedly requested that he travel to the UK for questioning.

Two years after assault allegations first surfaced in 1982, he moved to Zimbabwe – where it has also been claimed he abuse youngsters at several camps he founded.

He was accused of the culpable homicide of a teenager whose body was found naked in a school swimming pool in Zimbabwe. The prosecution was later dropped.

Mr Smyth subsequently moved to South Africa.

The scandal over accusations of abuse against Mr Smyth prompted Archbishop of Welby Most Rev Justin Welby, who worked at Iwerne Trust camps during the 1970s, to say last year that he had been “completely unaware” of any abuse at the time.

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