Mother of schoolboy allegedly sexually abused by harpist and former partner tells court she was ‘naive’ and ‘stupid’

Richard Barton-Wood outside Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA WIRE

Richard Barton-Wood outside Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

A mother whose son was allegedly sexually abused by a substitute teacher and his world-renowned harpist girlfriend told a court she had been “naive” and “stupid”.

Harpist Danielle Perrett, 58, of Alpheton, Suffolk, arrives at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: STEFAN

Harpist Danielle Perrett, 58, of Alpheton, Suffolk, arrives at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she had thought Richard Barton-Wood, who taught at her son’s school in the 1980s when her son was in his early teens, was “trustworthy”.

She said she allowed her son to go on sailing trips and camping trips with Barton-Wood, now aged 68, and to go with him to visit his then-girlfriend Danielle Perrett, now aged 59.

Years later, as an adult, her son spoke to police to accuse Barton-Wood of sexually abusing him as a child.

Earlier in evidence, her son said he felt in love with Perrett.

Barton-Wood is now on trial at Ipswich Crown Court alongside his former partner Perrett, a world-renowned harpist who has played for the Queen and several prime ministers.

They are accused of sexually abusing the boy in the 1980s when he was in his early teens, and they deny all charges.

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Stephen Rose, for Barton-Wood, asked the mother of the alleged victim about the day her son told her of the allegations he made to police.

Mr Rose said, in her witness statement to police, the woman said her son wanted to tell her something and “looked really worried”.

The woman agreed this was the case, and told the court: “(My son) then told me that he had been raped by Richard.

“He didn’t go into details.”

Mr Rose said to the woman: “You said to the police at the end of the statement: ‘To me and my husband, (our son) seemed happy and we trusted Richard as he was his teacher and we were happy that (our son) was happy’.”

She told the court: “Now I know how naive I was, how stupid I was, and how you can’t trust people.

“I never had any thoughts along those lines before.

“In the 1980s, you worried about your daughters.

“You never heard anything about boys - if that was any one of my daughters that would have been a different story.”

The woman agreed with Sallie Bennett-Jenkins, for Perrett, that she had described Perrett to police as “pleasant and quiet”.

Perrett, of Bridge Street, Alpheton, Suffolk, denies eight counts of indecently assaulting a boy.

Barton-Wood, of Church Street, Wymondham, Norfolk, denies six counts of indecently assaulting a boy, one count of attempting to indecently assault a boy and one count of attempting to commit the act of buggery.

The trial continues.

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