Police close investigation into 'fresh information' over George Bell abuse allegations

Police have closed an investigation into the late Bishop George Bell launched after the Church of England passed on 'fresh information' related to allegations of historic abuse.

Sussex Police said it has completed an investigation into the new allegation against the former bishop of Chichester referred to it earlier this year. The investigation was completed last month and no further action is possible as Bell died 60 years ago, a spokesman told the Telegraph

It is the latest in a controversial saga after the Church announced it had paid compensation to a woman who said Bell abused her as a child.

Bishop George BellCourtesy of Jimmy James

Bell was one of the Anglican Church's heroes and was widely respected during his lifetime for speaking out against Nazi atrocities and advocating for Jews fleeing Hitler.

However the Church was accused of besmirching his reputation after it declared in 2015 it had paid £16,800 in compensation to a woman in her 70s – known only as Carol – after she said she had been abused by Bell when she was five years old.

A report by Lord Carlile QC into how the Church dealt with the allegations found it had 'rushed to judgment' and criticised it for making the details public.

However the archbishop of Canterbury refused to clear Bishop Bell's name saying a 'significant cloud' hung over his reputation, infuriating his supporters.

The Church's safeguarding team then announced 'fresh information' about Bell had emerged and had been passed to Sussex Police – a move again criticised by Lord Carlile.

With that investigation now completed, Bell's supporters may now renew calls for an apology from Justin Welby.

A spokeswoman for the Church of England said: 'Fresh information was received regarding Bishop Bell following the publication of the Carlile Review in December.

'In January the National Safeguarding Team announced that it was commissioning an independent investigation into this information and we cannot make any further comment until the investigation is completed.'