Court told of child abuse claims
AN 80-year-old Jehovah's Witness lured young girls to “run wild” at his luxury house where he abused them, a court heard yesterday.Grandfather John Drury, from Colchester, is accused of indecently assaulting eight girls as they played innocent children's games such as dressing up and hide and seek in his six-bedroom home during the early 1990s.
By Roddy Ashworth
AN 80-year-old Jehovah's Witness lured young girls to “run wild” at his luxury house where he abused them, a court heard yesterday.
Grandfather John Drury, from Colchester, is accused of indecently assaulting eight girls as they played innocent children's games such as dressing up and hide and seek in his six-bedroom home during the early 1990s.
He even told one of the girls pornographic fairytales about princesses and knights having sex, it was claimed.
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In another attack he also took part in “perverse play acting” when he made one girl, aged between four and seven, wear a nappy, it was alleged.
Drury, who was said to be a “trusted” and “respected” member of the Jehovah's Witness Church, would invite young girls to his luxury home with large garden, pond and miniature train set in Cambridge Road.
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He would then allow them to do whatever they wanted, the court was told.
The defendant would join in the games, running around with the children, but later get them on their own before touching and kissing them, the jury was told.
Speaking at Chelmsford Crown Court, Rosalyne Mandil-Wade, prosecuting, said: “The defendant had a free house where children could go anywhere they liked, make as much noise as they liked.
“You can imagine what fun they had being able to run wild.”
But she told the jury of six men and six women how Drury, who lived with his late wife Christine who suffered from Polio and could not get around easily, would prey on the young girls who had been left in his care.
One victim, now 22, told how she was attacked during a game of hide and seek with other children at the house, where she said there were “no rules”.
She told the jury: “We were in the upstairs bedroom and there was a small box room which joins onto it, which I presume was a wardrobe once.
“He made us all get in there and called us out one at a time into the bedroom where there were two large beds with mattresses.
“I was the first one to be called out and I remember seeing Mr Drury on the bed under a sheet. I could see his face and he said to me to get under the sheet, which I did.
“He was fully clothed and I remember he started to kiss me on the lips and put his tongue in my mouth.”
On another occasion between 1991 and 1995, the girl claimed Drury attacked her again during a game of dressing up.
She said: “I was with another girl. He got us to take all our clothes off and get in the bed.
“He did the same thing and made us all in turn walk around the bed naked. He did the same thing and got back into the bed.
“Then he said to me, 'Would you like to touch me where you shouldn't?' He then grabbed my hand.”
The victim told the jury the attacks left her “frightened and sick”.
She also claimed Drury would hang around outside her school inviting girls back to his house with the promise of freedom.
She said: “He would be driving around the time we all left school and approach us and say, 'Come back to mine, it's a free house, you can have a cigarette there if you like'.”
Ms Mandil-Wade also told the court Drury told one young girl, who was aged under 14, “pornographic stories”.
She said: “Typically they would start off with a man and woman perhaps in a mythological role - a knight, a warrior or a princess having to fight each other.
“That would very soon change into the man and woman kissing each other and touching each other then going on to describe to the child the man and woman having sexual intercourse.”
In another “bizarre” assault, it was alleged he made a girl, aged at the time between four and seven years old, wear a nappy, even though she didn't need to.
Drury, who sat in the dock wearing a grey suit and patterned tie, used a hearing loop to listen to the proceedings.
He is charged with 12 counts of indecent assault of a girl and two of indecency with a child under 14. He denies all charges.
The trial continues.