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Monday, April 6, 1998 Published at 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK

World: S/W Asia

Sci-fi novelist cleared of sex charges

Arthur C Clarke describes the allegations as "nonsense"

Science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke has been cleared of allegations of child abuse.

[ image: Prince Charles was set to knight the novelist on his visit to Sri Lanka]
Prince Charles was set to knight the novelist on his visit to Sri Lanka
A Sri Lankan police chief said there was no evidence that Sir Arthur, 80, was a paedophile.

The novelist, who moved to Sri Lanka in 1956, said he had never been worried by the claims, which surfaced the day before he was due to receive an honorary knighthood from Prince Charles on his tour of the island in February.

The Sunday Mirror claimed Sir Arthur had paid for sex with boys.

'He has not committed any crime'

But Sir Arthur said: "Quite frankly I have never been worried about it. I was annoyed, but not worried."

The deputy inspector-general of police, MSM Nizam, said: "We are satisfied that he has not violated any Sri Lankan laws or committed any crime.

"He denied the allegations and spoke about his abhorrence of child sex and paedophilia."

Police interviewed three young men who had told the Sunday Mirror they had sex with Sir Arthur when they were teenagers.

Inquiry is not over

Mr Nizam said all three had now withdrawn their allegations.

He said: "We have now sent the reports to the Attorney General to seek his opinion on how to proceed with this case."

But Mr Nizam stressed that the inquiry is not yet over. Sri Lankan police did not interview any journalists from the Sunday Mirror, which claims it has an audio tape on which Sir Arthur admits to having had sex with boys.

Sir Arthur, who married in June 1953 but split up with his American wife six months later, has written 80 books, including the science fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.

He has also been credited with predicting several technological advances, including satellites and video phones.

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