Stanningfield man accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting school girl
A 59-year-old man has gone on trial accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a school girl over a four year period.
Phillip Coe, of Norse Avenue, Stanningfield, has pleaded not guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to seven alleged offences.
Coe is said to have assaulted the girl in Bury St Edmunds and in his van, beginning in the late 1990s when he was working as a self-employed plasterer.
David Wilson, prosecuting, alleged that Coe had begun by indecently touching the girl before his behaviour escalated to encouraging the girl to perform a sex act.
The girl, who was aged 12 when the first incidents were said to have taken place, is now a woman in her 20s, the jury heard.
Mr Wilson said the allegations against Coe had emerged as a result of an entirely unconnected incident when the woman reported having been assaulted at a Christmas event in Thetford in 2013.
As she was being interviewed she had told police officers that she was sexually assaulted by Coe about a decade earlier.
Mr Wilson told the jury that while Coe was accused of six offences of sexual assault and one of gross indecency, it was alleged those offences had involved many separate incidents.
Giving evidence in a recorded interview, the girl said that when the sexual assaults were taking place Coe had told her she was ‘pretty’ and that she was ‘special’.
The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said Coe’s attentions ceased when she left school and obtained a job.
Coe was arrested in March 2014 and, while accepting that he had known the girl, denied having done anything wrong. He told police the allegations were ‘simply not true’. He said he was unable to explain why the girl would have made up the claims, the jury heard. The trial continues.