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Wymondham man and world-renowned harpist on trial accused of sexually abusing schoolboy

PUBLISHED: 15:47 03 January 2018

Richard Barton-Wood, 68, of Church Street, Wymondham, Norfolk, arrives at Ipswich Crown Court , where he is charged alongside  
harpist Danielle Perrett, 58, of Bridge Street, Alpheton, Suffolk, who is facing seven allegations of child sex abuse, dating back to the 1980s. Picture Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

Richard Barton-Wood, 68, of Church Street, Wymondham, Norfolk, arrives at Ipswich Crown Court , where he is charged alongside harpist Danielle Perrett, 58, of Bridge Street, Alpheton, Suffolk, who is facing seven allegations of child sex abuse, dating back to the 1980s. Picture Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

A world-renowned harpist who has played for the Queen and several prime ministers is on trial along with her former Norfolk partner accused of sexually abusing a schoolboy.

Harpist Danielle Perrett, 58, of Alpheton, Suffolk, arrives at Ipswich Crown Court (Picture Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)Harpist Danielle Perrett, 58, of Alpheton, Suffolk, arrives at Ipswich Crown Court (Picture Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Danielle Perrett, 59, has given harp performances at royal palaces in the UK as well as at the Palace of Versailles in France.

She has also performed to senior members of the royal family including the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on numerous occasions.

She is on trial at Ipswich Crown Court alongside her former partner Richard Barton-Wood, 68, where they are charged with a string of sex offences, all of which they deny.

The charges relate to the 1980s and involve a single alleged male victim, who was in his early teens at the time.

Perrett, of Bridge Street, Alpheton, denies eight counts of indecently assaulting a boy.

Barton-Wood, of Church Street, Wymondham, denies six counts of indecently assaulting a boy, one count of attempting to indecently assault a boy and one count of attempting to commit the act of buggery.

William Carter, prosecuting, said Barton-Wood first met the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, while working as a substitute teacher and the boy was a pupil.

Mr Carter said Perrett was in a relationship with Barton-Wood at the time, and it was through him that she met the boy.

Barton-Wood invited the boy to come sailing with him, and the boy recalled waking on a boat to find he was being sexually abused by Barton-Wood, the court heard.

The boy said this happened on several occasions and that he was also abused by Barton-Wood on camping trips, Mr Carter said.

The court heard that on a separate occasion Barton-Wood took the boy to a flat with Perrett, and the boy awoke as Perrett undressed and got into bed with him.

Perrett “cuddled up” to the boy, had sex with him and then Barton-Wood joined them in bed and indecently assaulted the boy, Mr Carter said.

“(The boy) describes her as kind and gentle,” said Mr Carter. “Young as he was, it seems he fell in love with her.

“He was obviously too young to consent to what was happening and Perrett should have recognised that.”

He continued: “It amounts to sexual abuse of that young boy.”

Mr Carter said that years later, as an adult, the alleged victim tracked down and confronted the two defendants.

The alleged victim emailed Barton-Wood, and Barton-Wood said he felt the email was “in some way threatening”, the court heard.

“He said he felt he was being blackmailed,” Mr Carter said.

“He said there were subsequent phone conversations in which he said he wanted money.”

Perrett described the alleged victim as “devious, scheming and dishonest”, Mr Carter said.

Mr Carter said: “What’s going to be fundamental to this case is did any of this happen at all or is it a complete fabrication.”

The trial, estimated to last around two weeks, continues.

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