John Smyth QC Faces Fresh Allegations Over Abuse In Zimbabwe

John Smyth QC, accused of abusing boys at Christian youth camps, continued his attacks after he fled to Zimbabwe, according to an ongoing investigation by Channel 4.

The barrister left the UK in the early 1980s after an inquiry by the Christian charity the Iwerne Trust uncovered he had beaten boys, prompting one university student to attempt suicide.

Channel 4 NewsJohn Smyth, who now lives in South Africa and campaigns on morality, is at the centre of the allegations

But he set up similar Christian youth camps for public school boys, Zambezi Holidays, in Zimbabwe.

Concerns about Smyth's behaviour at the camps in Zimbabwe were raised as early as 1986, according to Channel 4's Cathy Newman, with documents revealing how "incidents of nudity and beatings on Zambezi Ministries camps increased".

An investigation into the camps after a 15-year-old boy died found Smyth "would stand, in the nude, in the vicinity of, or just inside, the shower area".

He also "lead the boys in prayers whilst he was naked"," the documents said.

Younger boys were not allowed to wear underwear and if found wearing pants "at any time corporal punishment was administered either to the naked buttocks or to buttocks covered with a pair of shorts only".

Smyth has not responded to the allegations.

The latest accusations comes after an evangelical bishop in the Church of England, the Bishop of Guildford Andrew Watson, revealed he was one of Smyth's victims.

"I am one of the survivors of John Smyth's appalling activities in the late 1970s and early '80s," he said in a statement on Monday.

"I am also one of the bishops in the Church of England.

"This has placed me in a unique and challenging position when it comes to the events of the past few days.

"My own story is certainly less traumatic than that of some others. I was drawn into the Smyth circle, as they were, and the beating I endured in the infamous garden shed was violent, excruciating and shocking; but it was thankfully a one-off experience never to be repeated.

Lifestyle