Teenager ‘kept sex abuse secret for years’

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A woman has told a court she buried the memory of what she believed to have been a secret love affair with agricultural engineer Robert Hayes-Danson when she was a young teenager.

Hayes-Danson, known locally as Bob Danson, denies grooming the youngster and indecently assaulting her over a number of years.

The woman told the court she had tried to bury what had happened between herself and Danson in the years that followed but following the birth of her daughter things started to play on her mind.

She said: “I thought I could deal with it. I thought I was a bad person for having an affair with him so I’d just have to get over it myself.”

Giving evidence by videolink at Preston Crown Court, the woman – who can not be identified for legal reasons - said the relationship between her and Danson started when she was about 12 years old and went on until she had sex with Danson at his home in Woodplumpton aged 15.

She said: “That was the last incident. I don’t recall anything after that. I think it scared me.” But the woman said she started to try and avoid being alone with Danson.

She broke down and told a family member at a party in 2012 after making a comment about Danson which caused the family member to question what she had meant.

The woman told the court: “She asked me if anything had ever gone on with Bob or had Bob ever just done anything. I remember just putting my hands around my head and nodding and crying. I told her that I felt like I’d had an affair with him from being 12 to 15 but I didn’t go into detail. I told her what I felt had happened was I had an affair with Bob and she said that it wasn’t my fault and we didn’t go into any detail. That was enough for her.”

The woman also told her husband what had happened but said she did not go into detail with him either.

She said: “It was enough for him that I had an affair when I was 12.”

Danson, of Birch Avenue. Newton-with-Scales, denies nine counts of indecent assault and two counts of indecency with a child relating to the woman. He also denies two further charges of indecent assault relating to two other women when they were 12 and 13 years old.