Woman claims she kept abuse secret

Harold Burnett, 81, denies allegations of historic sex offences against three children.
Harold Burnett, 81, denies allegations of historic sex offences against three children.

A woman has been telling the court she kept abuse at the hands of a Lancashire businessman secret for decades.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she only confided in her husband when she started suffering difficulties in her marriage as a result of the trauma she suffered as a child.

He was a bully. He used to threaten us

However it was still several years before she reported the abuse to the police after being approached by another man who also said he had been abused by Harold Burnett.

Burnett, 81, 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.

Two men and a woman, now in their 50s and 60s, claim to have been sexually abused by him at a small terraced house in Lytham more than four decades ago.

In a recorded police interview, the woman said: “We were terrified of him.

“He was a bully. He used to threaten us.

“He was very controlling...not a nice man.”

The woman said she was “on pins” when Burnett was around and said he abused her on a regular basis for a number of years.

She said: “Afterwards he didn’t say anything. He was just his normal, horrible self.”

The woman believed she was the only person suffering sexual abuse at the hands of Burnett, who now lives in Lytham Road, Lytham.

However she later discovered two men also said they had been targeted.

She said: “I could have carried on as it was, with a bit of a grudge – a bit more than a grudge – but I wasn’t going to go round burning any boats.

“The lads, they are fairly well known and I wouldn’t do anything to embarrass them.”

But she said one of the men had contacted her by email and said he felt ready and able to make a formal complaint against Burnett, and agreed to support him by reporting what had happened to her.

She told the court: “If that is what it takes for him to get on with his life then he deserves it.

“He is a good lad.”

PROCEEDING

Previous article

Man denies allegations of historic child sex offences