Accused denies alleged sexual assaults against schoolgirls

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A former Suffolk man accused of sexually assaulting two schoolgirls more than three decades ago has accused them of inventing the allegations.

Giving evidence during his trial at Ipswich Crown Court today (Friday) Ceridgwyn Gillham said there had never been any sexual contact between him and the two alleged victims.

“The events they have described, they didn’t happen,” said Gillham.

“I had no desire to do anything like that,” he added.

Cross-examined by prosecution counsel David Wilson, Gillham agreed he wasn’t contending that he and the alleged victims had engaged in “childish experimentation during which boundaries were crossed”.

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He claimed that nothing inappropriate had ever taken place between him and the alleged victims and accused them of inventing the allegations.

He denied a suggestion from Mr Wilson that he was lying to the court.

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“You are in denial because these incidents took place and you refuse to accept what they have said is in fact the truth,” said Mr Wilson to which Gillham replied: “I’m a man with a clear conscience.”

He denied sexually assaulting one of the girls in a “camp” made out of sheets and firing matches out of an air gun at the genital area of one of the alleged victims.

He also denied trying to put his hand inside the trousers of one of the alleged victims while they were on loose straw in a barn.

Gillham, 51, of The Street, Hapton, Norwich, denies 10 offences of indecent assault.

The offences were allegedly committed between 1977 and 1984 when Gillham was aged between 11 and 18 and was living at The Manse in Cratfield.

Gillham allegedly touched the girls inappropriately when they were as young as six and seven and got them to touch him sexually.

Gillham denied the allegations made by the girls during police interviews.

During his evidence he said that when he was arrested by police and told it was in connection with historic sexual allegations he had no idea what it was all about it.

He said that when one of the alleged victims confronted him in Bury St Edmunds in 2015 and screamed at him: “Get back under the rock you crawled out from” he hadn’t recognised her.

The trial continues on Monday.

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