AN ex- parish councillor, said to have had regular sex with a schoolgirl and got her pregnant when he was a youth leader, told a jury none of it ever happened.
John Duffy said he had never had a relationship with the complainant and alleged her claims about what had gone on between them were “a figment of her imagination.” He told Burnley Crown Court, which has heard the girl was totally besotted with him: “Maybe it’s what she wanted to happen. Maybe she was infatuated, but it never happened.”
Duffy, a former pub chef, who has also worked at the Stirk House at Gisburn and now has a shop, was alleged to have started to touch the complainant when she was 12. He told the jury: “She may have been 12 when she started on a sexual adventure, but it wasn’t with me.”
The defendant (50), of Skipton Road, Colne, denies 13 charges of indecent assault, one allegation of gross indecency with a child and eight counts of rape, said to have taken place between June, 1989 and June, 1994.
The prosecution has alleged Duffy, then married with young children, had sex with the girl in a house, his car and at the youth club where he was then a leader. He was alleged to have told the girl they would get married and had shown her holiday brochures of where he said they would go.
Miss Alison Mather (prosecuting) has claimed the girl allowed the defendant to have sex with her to try and win his love and took part in indecent acts because Duffy was said to have told her that’s what people who loved each other did. Miss Mather has alleged the defendant would kiss the girl on the cheek and stroke her hair and his behaviour later became more intimate. She has claimed Duffy “promised the girl the earth and abused her over a number of years.”
The hearing has been told the girl had an abortion when she was 15 after which, her mother told the jury, she was distraught and started to drink.
Giving evidence, Duffy, who spoke of his shock when taken to the police station over the allegations, said he had never stroked the girl’s hair, kissed her or told her she was beautiful. He told the jury he had not planned holidays with the child and had never touched her The defendant claimed: “I have never had a relationship with her. I have never had sex with her, never.”
Duffy, who described himself as a kind person who wanted to help others, told the court: “There was never, ever going to be a relationship. It was never going to happen.”
The defendant’s barrister, Mr Jeremy Lasker, read several agreed statements to the jury. One, from Louise Cooper, said she had known Duffy for about 17 years. She said she had attended the youth club where Duffy was then a leader, had found him to be very friendly and approachable and added he made everybody laugh and was fun to be around.
She said: “At no time did I ever feel uncomfortable in his company.” Ms Cooper, who said she had booked Duffy to provide buffets for work, continued: “I cannot believe these allegations are true. I saw it in the paper before John asked me to provide a statement and I was truly shocked.”
Another statement was from Anthony Haworth, who had been a pastor at the New Life Christian Centre in Colne. He said he and Duffy had become friends and he considered him to be a man of upright character and integrity.
Mr Haworth continued: “I have always found him to be trustworthy and honest. He cares for the needs of others and has a deep sense of social responsibility.”