A Blackpool man was ‘the heart and the head’ of more than 40 years of alleged child sex abuse, a court has heard.
Derek Jessop, 75, appeared at Preston crown court yesterday charged with 10 counts of indecent assault, three counts of rape and one count of attempted rape of young girls between 1961 and 2002.
His wife Malee Kadram, 40, and ex-wife Lesley Jessop, 64, also stand accused of sex crimes against children.
All three deny the offences and the trial is expected to last around six weeks.
Paul Brookwell, prosecuting, said Derek Jessop, of Regent Road East, Blackpool, began his campaign of vile sex abuse in 1961, when he is alleged to have assaulted a 12-year-old girl when he was 17.
He said Jessop touched the girl inappropriately and exposed himself to her.
“She screamed and demanded to be taken home,” he added. “He agreed as long as she promised not to tell anyone.”
The court heard how Derek Jessop continued to abuse several young girls over a number of years.
Between 1972 and 1973 it is alleged that he indecently assaulted and later attempted to rape a nine-year-old girl.
Mr Brookwell said: “She has tried to block out the memories of this over the years.”
Jessop was also accused of a number of sex crimes, including rape, against a third girl between 1972 and 1981. The court was told the abuse began when his victim was just seven or eight-years-old.
The court also heard how in 2010 his victim, by then an adult, had confronted Jessop about the abuse she had suffered and had been given a house by him ‘as a form of hush money’.
He is also accused of assaulting and raping a girl aged between four and 10-years-old in the 1990s.
Mr Brookwell told the jury: “When she was four-years-old, Jessop took the victim out in his van. He went on to sexually assault her, causing her to cry.”
He is also accused of indecently assaulting a 17-year-old girl between 2001 and 2002 by stroking her leg.
The court was told he believed the allegations against him were malicious and financially motivated.
Kadram, whom Jessop met on an online dating site and moved to England from Thailand in 2002, stands accused of sex crimes against two boys aged 13 and eight-years-old. She is charged with five counts of indecency with a child and one count of indecent assault.
The court heard how, on an occasion between 2002 and 2004, she approached the boys as they slept and exposed her breasts.
She later went on to ‘offer herself sexually’ to the older boy, who was around 14 at the time, and the two had sex several times.
Lesley Jessop, 64, is accused of two counts of indecent assault of a 15-year-old boy between 1984 and 1985.
She admitted to having sex with him but claimed it was at a much later date, when he was of consenting age.
Mr Brookwell said: “When looking at this as a whole, it is a case of historical sex abuse, and at the heart and head is Derek Jessop.”
The hearing will resume tomorrow.