Home news Teacher accused of sex abuse tells of blackmail attempt

Teacher accused of sex abuse tells of blackmail attempt


A former teacher accused of indecently assaulting a boy more than 30 years ago has told a court the alleged victim attempted to blackmail him.

Richard Barton-Wood, 68, and world-renowned harpist Danielle Perrett, 59, deny a string of charges.

The alleged offences came to light after the complainant confronted the defendants as an adult.

Mr Barton-Wood said he was asked for money during a phone call with the alleged victim.

He told Ipswich Crown Court: “He said ‘I want you to give me some money to stop me from saying things’.”

The court heard Mr Barton-Wood met the alleged victim while he was teaching at Claydon High School in the early 1980s.

He said the teenager had helped with work on his boat, been sailing with him, joined him and others on camping trips to Germany and Belgium and had visited his home.

Mr Barton-Wood, from Wymondham, Norfolk, denied anything inappropriate had taken place.

‘Totally wrong’

He said when the accusations came to light, he felt “disappointed”.

“I felt we had a friendship that had endured for some time.

“We had experiences together on trips and, despite the difference in years, he was likeable, funny and good company.

“I felt all those good memories were sullied by these totally, totally wrong accusations being made,” Mr Barton-Wood told the jury.

The court heard the complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aged between 13 and 15 at the time of the abuse.

The jury was asked to return a verdict of not guilty of a charge of a serious sexual offence made against Mr Barton-Wood.

A new charge of indecent assault was put to him, to which he pleaded not guilty. He also denies several further counts of the same offence.

Ms Perrett, from Alpheton, Suffolk, who has performed for the Queen, was acquitted of two charges of indecent assault but still faces six counts of the offence, which she denies.

Earlier in the trial, it was heard that Ms Perrett, a former partner of Mr Barton-Wood, allegedly had sex with the teenager.

The trial continues.

Source: BBC Suffolk