A MUSICIAN has appeared at the Old Bailey accused of a string of historic sex crimes.

Philip Pickett a wind instrument specialist, is charged with a number of offences including three rapes and eight indecent assaults.

The 63-year-old, who lives in Lyneham near Chipping Norton, is now due to face trial in January next year after his barrister yesterday pushed to delay the case so the musician could finish touring.

Jonathan Barnard, defending, told the London court: “My client is a world famous musician and therefore earns his living on a job to job basis and has tours across the globe throughout the autumn – but the season slows down in the new year.

“The Crown doesn’t object – the allegations are at the latest 20 years old and the earliest, 40 years old.”

Pickett worked as a freelance classical music teacher at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama between 1972 and 1977. He founded the early music ensembles New London Consort and Musicians of the Globe, and he has also collaborated with members of folk rock band Fairport Convention.

He is now facing a series of allegations, including three charges of rape and one of attempted rape between 1974 and 1988. He is also accused of eight counts of indecent assault and one of actual bodily harm.

The nine alleged female victims include a girl who was under 14 at the time of the alleged crime.

Dressed smartly in a dark suit in the dock at the Old Bailey yesterday, Pickett spoke only to confirm his name during the brief preliminary hearing.

He was released on conditional bail to return to the court on June 30 and enter his pleas to the charges.

If he denies them, he will face a seven- to eight-week trial beginning on January 5 next year. The court heard Pickett was initially expected to stand trial in October – but the date was pushed back in order to accommodate his tour schedule.