Hemsby man denies abuse

A builder accused of sexually abusing four teenagers in the 1970s and 1980s admitted to police he had shared a bed with the boys when they stayed at his home, a court heard yesterday.

Robert Reynolds, of Summerfield Road, Hemsby, denies 13 sexual offences including a series of serious sexual assaults, gross indecency and one indecent assault.

His victims were all aged between 13 and 15 years old when the alleged abuse took place between 1977 and 1985.

During a trial at Norwich Crown Court yesterday, jurors were read transcripts from police interviews with the defendant, carried out last year, during which he was questioned about his relationships with the boys.

Reynolds, who is now 73 but was in his late-30s to mid-40s at the time, admitted to police they had each slept over at his home after helping him with building work at weekends.

But he denied ever sexually assaulting the teenagers, showing them a pornographic book – in which police had found a fingerprint of one of the boys – or making them watch pornographic films.

During an interview about one of the victims, Reynolds, who is named on the Hemsby Parish Council website as its chairman, said: 'I can't understand why after all these years he's suddenly got it in for me. Nothing like that went on.'

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Reynolds, who said he was not gay and had never had any sexual contact with another man, insisted it had not occurred to him that he was doing anything wrong by sharing a bed with the teenagers. He said: 'Nothing was thought then. I didn't think it was wrong. Nothing was even thought about what you're suggesting.'

Det Con Paul White, the leading officer in the case, told the court that one of the victims had told police he had felt 'powerless', 'trapped' and unable to stop the abuse.

During the interviews, Reynolds had said: 'It didn't happen. Full stop.'

Richard Potts, prosecuting, also read out statements from family members of one of the victims. They reported how the teenager, who had not told them about the alleged abuse at the time, had become quiet and 'went within himself' and went through life hating the Christmas and New Year period. They were later told that was the time of year when the alleged abuse had begun.

The trial continues.

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