Women hid sex abuse secret for years

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A second woman has told how she was sexually assaulted as a child by agricultural engineer Robert Hayes-Danson.

Hayes-Danson, 46, known locally as Bob Danson, denies indecently assaulting three women in allegations dating back to 1985.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told how she was too frightened to tell anyone about the assault when she was just 11 years old.

She said: “I remember freezing. Physically freezing and feeling a bit panicky and scared.

“At the time I blamed myself. I don’t know why, other than I was only a child and thinking like a child. I thought I’d get into trouble for something. I just felt frightened.”

Following the attack, almost 30 years ago, the woman avoided being alone with Danson and says she “buried” the memory until another woman told her she too had been abused by Danson as a teenager.

Earlier in the trial, the younger woman told the jury she had believed she was in a relationship with Danson when he abused her over a number of years.

She too had kept the abuse secret but when she was speaking to the second woman at a party in 2012 she made a comment which the older woman said “didn’t sit right.”

When asked what she meant by the comment, the younger woman became very upset. The older woman said: “It was clearly troubling her immensely.

“She was sitting on the bed and she was crying. I said ‘did something happen with Bob?’ At this stage she was really quite distressed and she was holding her face and nodding.”

She added: “It was like being hit by a sledgehammer. It was awful.”

Danson, of Birch Avenue, Newton with Scales but formerly of Woodplumpton, denies 11 counts of indecent assault.

The trial continues.