World-renowned Suffolk harpist denies taking virginity of schoolboy as trial continues

Danielle Perrett leaving Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Danielle Perrett leaving Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk harpist took the virginity of a schoolboy who was a pupil at the school where her then-boyfriend was a substitute teacher, a court has heard.

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

World-renowned harpist Danielle Perrett, who has played for The Queen and several prime ministers, is on trial alongside her former partner, accused of sexually abusing the boy in the 1980s, when the alleged victim was in his early teens.

They deny all the charges.

The alleged victim, now an adult, told Ipswich Crown Court that he was introduced to Perrett, now aged 59, by Richard Barton-Wood, who had been working as a substitute teacher at his school.

He said Barton-Wood, who was in a relationship with Perrett at the time and is now 68, had taken him to a harp recital where Perrett was performing.

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


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After the recital, the three of them went back to Perrett’s flat, the alleged victim said, and he went to Perrett’s bed to go to sleep.

“I wasn’t asleep, I was lying there trying to get off to sleep when Danielle came into the room,” he said.

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He told the court she got undressed and got into bed beside him, adding “it was one of the first times I had seen a female naked; I think it was the first time”.

He said she “cuddled” him, got on top of him and had sex with him, and that Barton-Wood was not in the room at the time.

Prosecutor William Carter asked him: “What reactions can you remember about this happening?”

The alleged victim said: “Brilliant, absolutely brilliant, nothing like this ever happened to me.”

He told the court he had felt “in love with her, I felt safe with her”.

He said that after the sex he was “drifting off to sleep” when Barton-Wood, who was naked, got into the bed with them and indecently assaulted him, which he “absolutely hated”.

The man said Perrett performed a sex act on him in the shower the following morning, which he found “nice, lovely, amazing”.

The alleged victim said he later told his sister about what happened.

“I told her my first ever occasion was with Danielle,” he said. “I lost my virginity with Danielle.”

He said the sexual activity with Perrett happened on a number of further occasions, and that Barton-Wood had sexually abused him on sailing trips and camping trips.

Asked if he could recall when he last heard from Perrett, he said: “Richard told me she had got a new boyfriend and had moved to Italy, and I was quite upset.”

He said he tracked down Barton-Wood years later and confronted him about the alleged sexual abuse, and later contacted Perrett after seeing her name on a list of musicians by chance.

The alleged victim gave his evidence last week but it could not be reported until now for legal reasons.

He described to the jury what Perrett looked like naked.

Sallie Bennett-Jenkins, for Perrett, suggested the incidents had not happened and said the alleged victim had an “overactive teenage imagination”.

She supplied jurors with a photograph of Perrett’s breasts.

Ms Bennett-Jenkins said: “Without causing further embarrassment, I’m going to say this: she had pale, pink nipples and that’s not consistent with your description of her, is it?”

The alleged victim said: “I remember her having dark nipples.”

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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