A piece in today’s Times. Note the widespread use of the word “alleged” which would be unusual if the sexes were reversed.
The man who accuses the widow of a Court of Appeal judge of sexually abusing him as a young boy has told a court he came forward after realising “the shame I carried wasn’t mine to bear”.
Lady Nourse, 77, from Newmarket in Suffolk, is on trial at Peterborough’s Nightingale court, charged with the sexual abuse of a young boy in the 1980s. She was married to Sir Martin Nourse, a former lord justice of appeal, who died aged 85 in 2017.
Nourse denies 17 counts of sexually abusing a boy under the age of 12. The charges, which all concern the same complainant, are five counts of indecently assaulting a boy and 12 counts of indecency with a child.
Jennifer Knight QC, for the prosecution, said earlier in the trial that, for years, the boy had “never told anyone” his account of what had happened. “He tried to bury away the memories and to not think about them.”
Knight said that the complainant had become troubled by his memories of the alleged abuse after marrying and having children. She said that the complainant then told his wife what had happened to him and later reported his allegations to the police, with Nourse first interviewed by officers in relation to the claims in 2019.
Knight asked the complainant, now an adult, what motivated him to tell friends about the alleged abuse.
Giving evidence today, he said he “carried the shame throughout my childhood” and has since had therapy. “I realised the shame I carried for this wasn’t mine to bear,” he said. “It belonged to that woman sitting over there [the defendant], who abused me throughout my childhood. It’s her shame.”
In a recording played to the court, the complainant said Nourse “screwed me up”.
He told his wife after experiencing difficulties in their relationship, which he put down to the alleged abuse.
“It’s fair to say the root of my problems is I was sexually abused,” he said.
The man said in the recording that he was “trying to work things through but it got to such a point that I had to admit to what happened to me when I was younger”.
The court heard that Nourse previously ran a public relations company which had organised the premieres of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express and Phantom Of The Opera and organised the Queen’s 60th birthday celebrations.
The defendant said that the alleged incidents of abuse did not happen, Knight said.
Nourse married in 1972. The couple had two children and three grandchildren and moved to Newmarket in 1994. Sir Martin Nourse specialised in the commercial court and the chancery division at the Court of Appeal.
He took silk at the relatively young age of 38, the first of his contemporaries to do so, and was appointed a chancery High Court judge ten years later, joining the Court of Appeal when he was only 52.
He retired in 2006 but continued to sit part-time. Before his career in law, he served as a second lieutenant in the Rifle Brigade from 1951 to 1952 and subsequently in the Territorial Army in the London Rifle Brigade Rangers.
The trial continues.
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