‘Schoolgirl had abortion after affair with Colne youth leader’: court allegations


A SCHOOLGIRL had an abortion after a married youth leader she was “infatuated” with allegedly got her pregnant, a jury heard.

Her mother told a court of her “complete shock” and “disbelief” when her daughter, then aged 15, told her, although at first she had not wanted to, that it was John Duffy who had made her pregnant.

Burnley Crown Court has heard claims Duffy, then a youth leader and married with young children, had sex sessions with the girl and, on one occasion, spent all night with her when his then wife had just had a baby and was in hospital.

The mother, who lives in Pendle, described the pregnancy as a “dirty secret” and told the court how the girl’s father knew nothing about the termination at the time. She said: “He would have killed John Duffy.”

The mother broke down and cried in the witness box as she told how her once-happy daughter was “distraught” after the abortion and lived a lonely life, locked in her bedroom, drinking and lost interest in everything. She claimed: “There was no spark there or anything.”

Duffy, now 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 had told the girl they would get married and had shown her holiday brochures of where he said they would go. She allowed the defendant to have sex with her to try to win his love and took part in indecent acts as Duffy was said to have told her that’s what people who loved each other did.

The trial has been told how Duffy was questioned over the allegations after the complainant went to the police, last July. He told officers he knew her, but claimed there had never been any sexual or romantic relationship between them and her claims were not true.

Questioned by prosecutor Miss Alison Mather, the mother said she was shocked when her daughter told her Duffy had got her pregnant. She continued: “He was a leader, wasn’t he? He was always with children. He was just so charming and nice.”

The mother said she told her daughter she would have to go to the doctor to have a termination. She said: “I was thinking of her future. She was too young to have a baby.”

Asked by Miss Mather about how her daughter was after the termination, the mother replied: “She was terrible, right from having that termination. I used to hear her sobbing in the night. I used to go and stroke her hair until she went to sleep. She was only a child. She just started to go downhill. She just gave up on everything, She was just so sad. She was so sad all the time. There was no spark there or anything.”

The mother said the girl would stay in her bedroom and started drinking. The mother found bottles of cider in her bedroom and hid them from her husband.

The mother said, from the age of 17, her daughter was drinking, taking tablets and overdosing. She continued: “It was just drinking and pills and having her stomach pumped. She was so down. It was terrible. That went on for a few years.” The mother said her daughter, now in her early 30, no longer drank and was getting her life back.

Miss Mather asked the mother: “When she was a teenager, do you recall her having boyfriends?” The mother replied: “No, never. She never, ever had boyfriends. She was popular because she was lovely. She would never go out with anybody.”

Cross-examined by Mr Jeremy Lasker, defending Duffy, the mother said she thought the termination was “best for everybody.” She said she hid it from her husband, although he knew about it now.

Mr Lasker asked the mother: “Why didn’t you go to Mr Duffy?” She answered: “I have gone over this and thought ‘why didn’t I go down?’ But what was the point ? He had a wife. He had three little children. I just wanted everything sorted and back to normal. That’s how I saw it at the time. It was just panic stations.”