Alleged sex abuse victim gives evidence against Lady Lavinia

Lavinia Nourse, 77, of The Severals, Newmarket, arrives at Knights Chamber, Peterborough Cathedral V

Lavinia Nourse, 77, of The Severals, Newmarket, arrives at court in Peterborough - Credit: Jacob King/PA Wire

A man who has accused the widow of a Court of Appeal judge of sexually abusing him when he was a child in the 1980s told a court he "realised the shame I carried wasn't mine to bear".

Lady Lavinia Nourse, of The Severals, Newmarket, has denied 17 counts of sexually abusing a boy under the age of 12 and is on trial at Peteborough's Nightingale court in the city's cathedral. 

The 77-year-old was married to Sir Martin Nourse, who died in 2017 aged 85. 

The charges, which all relate to the same male complainant, are five counts of indecently assaulting a boy and 12 counts of indecency with a child.

Jennifer Knight QC, prosecuting, earlier told the trial that the boy "tried to bury away the memories" of alleged abuse but that, years later, after he got married and had children, he "became increasingly troubled by his recollection".

Ms Knight asked the complainant, now an adult, what motivated him to tell friends about the alleged abuse.

A general view of the Nightingale court at Knights Chamber, Peterborough Cathedral Visitor And Learn

Peterborough's Nightingale court at the city's cathedral - Credit: Jacob King/PA Wire

Giving evidence on Wednesday, he said he "carried the shame throughout my childhood" and has since had therapy.

"I realised the shame I carried for this wasn't mine to bear," he said.

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"It belonged to that woman sitting over there (the defendant), who abused me throughout my childhood.

"It's her shame."

In a recording played to the court, the complainant said Lady Lavinia "screwed me up".

He said that, years after the alleged abuse, he experienced difficulties in his relationship with his wife, which led him to tell her.

"It's fair to say the root of my problems is I was sexually abused," he said.

Lavinia Nourse, 77, of The Severals, Newmarket, arrives at Knights Chamber, Peterborough Cathedral V

Lavinia Nourse, 77, has gone on trial for the sex abuse of a young boy - Credit: Jacob King/PA Wire

The man said in the recording that he was "trying to work things through but it got to such a point that I had to admit to what happened to me when I was younger".

The court heard that Lady Lavinia previously had a PR company which had organised the premieres of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express and Phantom Of The Opera, and organised the Queen's 60th birthday celebrations.

Ms Knight earlier told the trial that the complainant told his wife what had happened to him and later reported his allegations to police, with Lady Lavinia first interviewed by officers in 2019.

The defendant claims that the alleged incidents of abuse did not happen, Ms Knight said.

The trial continues.

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