Man on trial for grooming and sexually abusing girl denies any sexual contact with her, jury hears

PUBLISHED: 13:29 05 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:28 05 September 2019

Shane Vertigan, who used to be a traffic warden. Picture: Archant

Shane Vertigan, who used to be a traffic warden. Picture: Archant

A 49-year-old man on trial for grooming and sexually abusing a girl more than a decade ago has denied having any kind of sexual contact with the victim.

Shane Vertigan, 49, is alleged to have begun sexually abusing the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, when she was 12.

Vertigan, of Whitelands, Fakenham, has denied eight counts of abusing the girl, who did not come forward until August 2016 to make a complaint to Norfolk police.

The jury heard how Vertigan, who is currently employed at a brewery, and previously worked for Norfolk police as a traffic warden, denied ever sexually touching the girl, including kissing her on the mouth and sticking his tongue down her throat.

"I wouldn't do that, [I had] no reason to," he said.

Vertigan said he was "never, ever left alone" with the girl, adding he wouldn't put himself in that position.

"I was always very cautious and never wanted to leave myself in that position where that could be thrown at me," he added.

He denied ever buying the girl phone credits to text him, saying he was "shocked" by the allegation.

He also denied allegedly sexually touching the girl and described another allegation of sexual abuse as "absolute rubbish".

Vertigan admitted keeping in touch with the girl, and characterised their relationship via text once she was over the age of 18 as "fun, flirty banter".

When asked if he had ever made a particular comment about her body, he said he "may well have done", describing it as a reflection of the banter between them.

He characterised their relationship as a "strong friendship" and said he was "always happy to see her".

Giving evidence over a court video, the girl told how she had frozen and panicked when he abused her and claimed he told her that she should not tell anyone what happened: "I just froze. Everything went blank."

"He said I was not to tell anyone. He said it was a bit of fun."

The trial continues.

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