Man denies allegations of historic child sex offences

Harold Burnett, 81, denies allegations of historic sex offences against three children.
Harold Burnett, 81, denies allegations of historic sex offences against three children.
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A “wealthy” elderly man accused of historic sex offences against three children has claimed they have made up false claims against him to get his money.

Harold Burnett, 81, denies abusing three children on the first day of a trial at Preston Crown Court.

Burnett, of Lytham Road, Lytham, claims the complainants – now in their 50s and 60s - have colluded in a bid to get their hands on his money.

But giving evidence over videolink, one of the men - who cannot be named for legal reasons - said: “My life was horrible.”

Two men and a woman claim Burnett, described in court as “wealthy”, abused them repeatedly at a terraced house more than four decades ago.

One of the men told the court: “I did a remarkable job of putting it all behind me.

“I became somebody that other people wanted to be. I was that person.

“Tears of a clown, eh?”

“I became bullet proof. I could even talk about that subject with other people, joking.

“Nobody suspected.”

But he said he had seen cases in the news and heard of cases where abuse victims had come forwards decades later.

As a child he did not understand the abuse in which he claims Burnett “did everything” but seriously sexually assault him.

But he said: “He wasn’t horrible.

“That was the strange part. He was kind.

“He didn’t make me do it.

“He was kind to me but there was an element of menace about it as I knew there was something wrong about it.

“I knew I couldn’t tell anybody.”

He said the abuse stopped when he was around 12 years old when he physically resisted Burnett.

He told the court: “I instantly thought ‘I’m going to be in trouble now.’

“He had a vile temper and he was strong as well.

“He was a fit, physical fella.

“I thought I was going to get crucified but I didn’t.

“It stopped.

“That was the last time.”

Burnett denies six charges of gross indecency with a child, four charges of indecent assault on a female and nine charges of indecent assault on a male child.

Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said: “He says they are false allegations because [they] are after his money.

“There is no onus on the defendant to say why these allegations would be made but he says these now mature complainants have colluded together to put themselves to the task of revealing the most serious aspect of their lives for financial reward.

“They have come forward now that [one complainant] has expressed himself as able to come forward to reveal what happened to them as children and which they have carried with them all this time.”