Cop faces 1970s sex abuse charges

Nottingham Crown Court.
Nottingham Crown Court.
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A police officer sexually abused a seven-year-old girl while he was babysitting at her home in Bulwell, it has been alleged at Nottingham Crown Court.

Alan Martin (71) pleads not guilty to eight counts of indecently assaulting the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, between 25th July 1975 and 20th May 1978, at a flat in Bulwell town centre, where the family of the girl, who is now 46, lived and where Martin was a lodger.

Richard Thatcher (prosecuting) told the jury: “Her life has been blighted by what Martin did to her as a child between the ages of seven and nine.

“He told her she was a good girl and that the sexual activity was their secret which should be kept between them.

“On no occasion did she cry or protest. Rather, she froze. She knew he was a policeman and she felt she needed to do what he told her.”

Mr Thatcher explained that the girl and her younger brother were neglected by their mother and stepfather; they were left to go unfed and dirty and when her mum gave birth again, she was expected to look after the baby and get up in the night to feed it.

He said: “Both children were also treated violently by their mother and stepfather -- and it was this neglect and violence that Martin took advantage of. He used the gap in the parenting for his own ends.”

Mr Thatcher said Martin, who now lives on Teesbrook Drive in Wollaton, committed the abuse once a fortnight over a period of two years when he was a uniformed constable in his mid-30s.

The girl claimed her mother and stepfather knew what was happening, but did nothing. On one occasion, her stepfather even walked in to find the girl lying next to Martin on his bed. But he vented his anger at the girl, rather than the police officer.

The court was shown a harrowing DVD recording of the day the woman decided to tell all about the sex-abuse she allegedly suffered.

“He used to do bad things to me -- sexual stuff,” she said. “At the time, I knew it was wrong, but I was scared.

“I have kept it to myself for 36 years, but it has always been at the forefront of my mind, and it has had an impact on my relationships. I wish I could put it behind me.

“It became a common occurrence. He didn’t rape me, but his fingers were everywhere. At the time, I didn’t know what he was doing. Afterwards, he just lay there and went to sleep. I just remember being uncomfortable and sore.”

The court heard that the abuse stopped after the youngsters left the flat in 1978 to live with their father and his new wife in Aspley. A complaint was made to the police about Martin, but when interviewed, the girl was “too embarrassed to get her words out”.

Martin was interviewed under caution by a police officer at Hyson Green police station, where he worked, shortly afterwards.

The court was shown an extract from a letter to the assistant chief constable of Nottinghamshire, dated 19th July 1978, about ‘an alleged assault on a child by a police officer’ which read: “The officer denied the offence and therefore you will note I recorded it as a NO CRIME.”

When, by chance, as a 16-year-old, the girl spotted Martin again working at a bingo hall, she had to run away.

She finally plucked up the courage to report the abuse after a family wedding in April 2013 when she tried, in vain, to confront her stepfather.

What helped her to recollect when the abuse took place was the fact that it coincided with the pop group, Brotherhood Of Man, winning the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Save Your Kisses For Me’.

This, said Mr Thatcher, was one of Martin’s favourite tunes. “He used to whistle it or hum it all the time,” he told the jury.

Martin told the court he had problems with his memory, which had been deteriorating for 12 months: “I forget my children’s birthdays. I forget their names.”

He said the only time he had ever lifted the girl’s nightdress was to apply calomine lotion when she had measles.

He denied the children had been neglected in any way, but agreed he had been in a sexual relationship with the children’s natural mother, who was an alcoholic. He did not know whether their step-father knew about the relationship.

When Mr Thatcher told Martin he had been seen by the girl, naked and having sex with the girl’s mother in the front room of the flat, he denied the incident had happened.

When challenged about the incident when the girl had been found on his bed by her stepfather, he said: “I was asleep. I have no idea how she got there. She got there of her own accord.”

When asked why he thought the woman had made the allegations, which were corroborated by her younger brother, now 44, Martin said: “They must have gotten together to make some story up, possibly because I interfered with their relationship with their mother.”

Adrian Reynolds (defending) read statements from Martin’s granddaughters, aged 18 and 20, who described him as ‘caring, kind-hearted, selfless and loving’, and with whom they felt completely safe.

When arrested in Septermber last year, Martin told Detective Constable Neil Beddowes: “I knew (the alleged victim) and this has already been investigated.”

The trial continues.