Accused says alleged teen sex assault victim 'followed him around' at party

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Alfie Gilham has denied a charge of sexual assault at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

A man accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl during a party at a Suffolk bowls club has told a jury the alleged victim spent the evening "following him around". 

Alfie Gilham, who was 19 at the time of the alleged offending, has denied a charge of sexual assault following a party held at Kirkley Bowls Club in December 2018. 

Prosecutors allege that Gilham touched the girl's leg and later grabbed her between the legs and touched her over underwear and tights

Gilham, now 23, was giving evidence from the witness box at Ipswich Crown Court as his defence case began. 

Gilham told the jury he often felt uncomfortable at events where there were large groups of people, and "very rarely" went to pubs. 

He said he was at the party at the bowls club from around 7pm to 11.30pm. 

Gilham told the jury he didn't enjoy drinking but on the night had consumed three pints and one or two brandy and cokes. 

Gilham said at the beginning of the night someone had told him that both the alleged victim and her mother said he was attractive, which he found odd. 

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Asked by his barrister Simon Connolly what happened after that, Gilham said: "She [the alleged victim] followed me around for the rest of the night. 

"If I went to the bar, she made an excuse to go to the same area as me."

Gilham told the jury he found out about the allegations the following day and "burst into tears" upon hearing what he had been accused of. 

"I left work there and then," he said. 

Gilham said at one point it was his understanding that the allegations were not going to be pursued by police after he heard that the alleged victim had admitted that it was not true. 

Addressing Gilham, Mr Connolly said: "I'm going to ask you outright, did you sexually assault that young girl?" 

Gilham replied: "No, I did not." 

Gilham, of Avondale Road, Lowestoft, denied the allegation following his arrest by police. 

The jury is expected to hear closing speeches from the prosecution and defence teams on Thursday.