Former Royal Ballet star, 62, who performed with Freddie Mercury is facing prison for sexually abusing girl pupils from 'under 13 years old'

  • Stephen Beagley was one of Britain's leading classical dancers in 70s and 80s 
  • But yesterday, he unexpectedly pleaded guilty to eight sexual abuse charges
  • The court heard how Beagley's offending spanned much of his dancing career

Stephen Beagley ex-Royal Ballet star, 61, arriving at Lewes Crown Court court

Stephen Beagley ex-Royal Ballet star, 61, arriving at Lewes Crown Court court

A former Royal Ballet star is facing prison for sexually abusing girl pupils as young as ten.

Stephen Beagley, 62, was one of Britain's leading classical dancers in the 1970s and 1980s.

He had lead roles in Swan Lake, the Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and even the West End musical Cats.

He also performed with Freddie Mercury, memorably lifting the Queen singer into the air for a photograph during rehearsals.

He later became an influential dance instructor and choreographer but yesterday his glittering career was in tatters after he unexpectedly pleaded guilty to eight sex abuse charges.

He had been due to face trial at Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex.

At the last minute he admitted five counts of sexual assault, two charges of indecent assault and one of causing a child to engage in sexual activity. Sophie Shotton, prosecuting, asked for another four charges of sexual assault to be left on file.

Judge Christine Laing QC told him: 'Having now pleaded guilty, custody is inevitable and likely to be quite substantial.'

The court heard that Beagley's offending spanned much of his career, with the first indecent assault on a girl under the age of 14 taking place in 1997. Another girl aged under 13 was abused between 2006 and 2010.

Detective Sergeant John Steven, of the East Sussex safeguarding investigations unit, said: 'Beagley was a trusted and well known man in his local community in East Sussex, and around the world in performing and teaching ballet. 

Stephen Beagley performed with Freddie Mercury, memorably lifting the Queen singer into the air for a photograph during rehearsals (pictured)

Stephen Beagley performed with Freddie Mercury, memorably lifting the Queen singer into the air for a photograph during rehearsals (pictured)

'He targeted the young girls he came into contact with, and abused them while they were at their most vulnerable, over many years. I am glad that the victims had the courage, strength and commitment to come forward and remain resilient through this investigation, ensuring the justice achieved today.'

Beagley started dancing at the age of eight and joined the Royal Ballet School a year later.

At 17, he joined the Royal Ballet Company and became a principal dancer, an accolade he held for 14 years, performing for the Queen's silver jubilee gala in 1977.

One of the many highlights of Beagley's career was Sir Frederick Ashton's one-act ballet Rhapsody, created to mark the Queen Mother's 80th birthday.

At the last minute, before his trial, he admitted five counts of sexual assault, two charges of indecent assault and one of causing a child to engage in sexual activity

At the last minute, before his trial, he admitted five counts of sexual assault, two charges of indecent assault and one of causing a child to engage in sexual activity

In 1982, he was nominated for an Olivier Award and for a Society of West End Theatre gong for outstanding performance for a dancer. Two years later he played the lead role in Cats, followed by a tour of Italy as Rocky in The Rocky Horror Show.

Before turning to teaching, he enjoyed an illustrious career in film and television, as well as on the stage, appearing alongside Joan Collins in the 1983 film Nutcracker and with dancer Wayne Sleep in the Hot Shoe Show for the BBC.

In 1989 he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, starring in its record-breaking production of A Clockwork Orange and he briefly appeared in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

For many years Beagley was a guest teacher and the head of adult ballet programme for the English National Ballet.

In 1994 he designed and built a ballet studio in Japan, teaching students from the age of three.

He also taught at the Boston Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, and worked with ballet students in New Zealand, Shanghai, America, Italy.

He most recently worked with the Bangkok City Ballet as artistic director.

Yesterday Beagley, wearing a grey shirt and grey V-neck jumper, spoke only to confirm his name and the guilty pleas.

He showed no emotion as he was remanded into custody until a sentencing hearing next month.

Detective Sergeant Steven said: 'This investigation of historic allegations was carried out by experienced detectives, working alongside the victims in this case with the support of partner agencies.'

Former Royal Ballet star, 62, facing prison for sexually abusing girl pupils

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