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British folk singer Roy Harper charged with 1970s sex assault

British musician Roy Harper speaks to a reporter during an interview in London in this picture provided by Joshua Gaunt taken July 19, 2013.
British musician Roy Harper speaks to a reporter during an interview in London in this picture provided by Joshua Gaunt taken July 19, 2013.

LONDON (Reuters) - Veteran British folk singer Roy Harper has been charged with sexually abusing a girl for two years in the 1970s, starting when she was under 13 years old, police said on Friday.

Manchester-born Harper, 72 and now living in Rossmore, Ireland, is accused of nine sexual offences between 1975 and 1977, all relating to one girl, West Mercia police in central England said in a statement.

Over a 47-year career in music, Harper influenced major rock bands such as Pink Floyd and inspired Led Zeppelin's 1970 song, Hats Off to (Roy) Harper.

He will appear before magistrates in Hereford on Monday.

Harper, celebrated in part for his refusal to seek commercial fame as many of his 1960s and 1970s contemporaries did, released his first album in 1966 and went on to produce more than 20 others.

Earlier this year he put out his first album in over a decade, and last month played shows in Bristol, Manchester and London's Royal Festival Hall.

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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