FORMER BBC presenter Peter Rowell has been bailed from court after appearing before magistrates in Yate charged with raping a child.

The 53-year-old television and radio broadcaster was released from Northavon Magistrates’ Court on conditional bail this lunchtime after being charged by police last night.

Mr Rowell, of Amberley Way in Wickwar, appeared in court to be read the charge of rape and two counts of indecent assault against a girl aged under 16.

He was released on condition he does not contact the victim. He has also been given a 24-hour curfew to remain at his home address. He has been committed to Bristol Crown Court where he will next appear on June 24.

Mr Rowell, who presented the ITV West regional news for more than a decade and was presenting the afternoon show on BBC Radio Bristol until earlier this year, has already appeared in court faced with seven counts of indecent assault against girls and possessing and making indecent images of children.

At his previous court appearances he denied all the charges.

Mr Rowell sparked a nationwide search in April when he failed to turn up for work. He was found the following day in Cumbria and it later emerged he was being investigated for alleged sex offences.

The BBC has not renewed Mr Rowell’s contract since he was charged by police.