Car dealer denies sex abuse claims

PUBLISHED: 13:57 13 September 2006 | UPDATED: 14:49 12 May 2010

A CAR dealer sexually abused five young girls when they stayed at his home, it was alleged on Tuesday. Graham Pope, 66, is alleged to have indecently assaulted the girls at his homes in Hinxworth, Ashwell, and Guilden Morden between 1985 and 2000. Ann E

A CAR dealer sexually abused five young girls when they stayed at his home, it was alleged on Tuesday.

Graham Pope, 66, is alleged to have indecently assaulted the girls at his homes in Hinxworth, Ashwell, and Guilden Morden between 1985 and 2000.

Ann Evans, prosecuting, told Luton Crown Court that father-of- three Pope moved to a large house in the centre of Hinxworth.

"There were always children around the house and, by his own admission Mr Pope wanted to be seen as a super dad. He had a pilot's licence and took the children flying; he had a tandem bicycle and took the children cycling, he had a sports car and drove the children around," said Mrs Evans.

But she claimed that back at his home he abused friends of his children.

"Many of these allegations are similar - at bed time under the pretext of a massage this defendant sexually abused these girls when they were very young," she claimed.

One of Pope's alleged victims told the jury she was a regular visitor to his home in Hinxworth in the 1980s.

The woman, who is now 28, said at bath time Pope would use a sponge to wash her all over.

After getting out of the bath she said he spread her legs apart and used talcum powder on her.

She said: "He rubbed it all in everywhere. The talcum powder was uncomfortable. He rubbed it in with his hand. I specifically remember the genital area.

"He rubbed talc in numerous times. It was just a pattern."

Mrs Evans said a second victim, who is now in her mid-20s, suffered emotional health problems after what the defendant did to her.

She said the girl was about seven-years-old when she started to stay at the house for sleepovers. It was alleged Pope indecently assaulted her and performed oral sex on her.

Pope is said to have abused a third girl after she had been in the bath at his home.

In 1991, Pope moved to Station Road in Ashwell, when he could no longer afford to live in Hinxworth, said Mrs Evans. At that house a 12-year-old girl would visit and become uncomfortable with Pope's behaviour.

"He started to massage her shoulders one day when she was watching TV on the sofa. The defendant massaged under her top, although he didn't touch her anywhere inappropriate."

But later he is alleged to have massaged the girl in a bedroom. "He started with her back and then moved his hand onto her breast, which he grabbed and started to massage. She told him that was enough and he left the room," said Mrs Evans.

The fifth victim was aged between eight and 10 when Pope allegedly molested her at his home in Thompsons Meadow in Guilden Morden, where he had moved in 1999.

On another occasion he is alleged to have lifted up her T- shirt and put his hand up.

Pope, of Thompsons Meadow, Guilden Morden, has denied 20 charges of indecent assault.

When he was arrested on August 10 last year, he said the allegations were "nonsense."

He agreed he took part in bath and bedtime routines, but said he massaged the girls only on their backs. He denied having any sexual interest in children.

Pope claimed he was the victim of a vendetta by the sister of one of the girls, who had put the other girls up to making the allegations.

But Mrs Evans said: "The Crown say that these young women have not put their heads together to fabricate evidence against this defendant.

"These events are long in the past, and they have no cause to conspire against him."

The case continues.

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