West Suffolk: Men deny raping schoolgirl at ‘haunted’ Bardwell Hall

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A schoolgirl was raped at a west Suffolk country house more than 30 years ago after being plied with alcohol, it has been alleged.

The 13-year-old was invited to spend the night at Bardwell Hall by Robert Reynolds, who told her she might see the ghost of a lady in red who reportedly haunted the premises, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

“There was a well-known myth of a ghost in a bedroom at the property and he (Reynolds) made it sound interesting and exciting to her and she agreed to stay,” said Andrew Thompson, prosecuting.

After showing her around Reynolds, who was in his 40s, had taken the girl into the room where the ghost had supposedly been seen and had allegedly produced a bottle of Martini and invited her to drink some.

After leaving the girl to go to sleep Reynolds had returned to the room later and had got into the bed beside her and allegedly raped her, said Mr Thompson.

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“He pulled up her nightdress-there were no romantic words or kisses or cuddles, he was very rough,” alleged Mr Thompson.

He claimed that Reynolds grabbed the girl by the hair and “talked dirty” to her. “She submitted because she was frightened and overpowered by him and affected by drink,” claimed Mr Thompson.

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Reynolds, 77, of the Isle of Man, has denied two charges of raping the schoolgirl between 1978-80 and a joint charge of raping the girl with his nephew Philip Barty, 55, of Bury Street, Stowmarket, who has also denied the charge.

Mr Thompson told the court that on one occasion while the girl was at Bardwell Hall she was introduced to Barty, who was then 20 or 21, by Reynolds.

The three of them played a drinking game and the girl had later woken from a drunken sleep to allegedly find Barty having sex with her while Reynolds watched,

“She was still clothed on her upper half but her trousers had been pulled down and her chest and stomach were exposed,” alleged Mr Thompson.

He said although Reynolds had not had sex with the girl on that occasion he had assisted or encouraged what took place and was equally responsible for what allegedly took place.

He said that following that alleged incident there had been a number of occasions over a year when Reynolds had allegedly taken the girl to a pub and had sex with her on they way home after buying her alcohol.

Mr Thompson claimed that Reynolds had told the girl that what had happened between them was their secret and that if she told anyone they would believe him and not her.

Reynolds and Barty were arrested after the woman made allegations against them last year. They both denied the accusations and accused the alleged victim of making them up.

The trial continues today.

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