Former taxi driver accuses schoolgirl of lying about rape allegations

Ipswich Crown Court

Mark Ryan has denied the sexual offences. - Credit: Archant

A former Suffolk taxi driver accused of raping and sexually assaulting a schoolgirl more than a decade ago has accused her of lying about the allegations.

Giving evidence on the fifth day of his trial at Ipswich Crown Court, Mark Ryan denied having any sexual contact with the teenager and deliberately grooming her.

He accepted being Facebook friends with her and talking to her about problems she was having at school but denied taking advantage of her and then securing her silence by threatening her.

“I’m not guilty of the charges. I’m just guilty of being a nice fellow,” he told the court.

He said the girl had turned up unannounced at his home on two occasions and after the second time it occurred to him that she might have a crush on him and he had decided to “nip things in the bud.”

He broke down in tears while describing his shock at being told about the allegations by a police officer.

Ryan, 50, of St James’ Court, Haverhill, has denied three offences of oral rape, two offences of assault by penetration and sexual assault.

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The offences are alleged to have been committed in the early part of 2009 when Ryan was 39.

It is alleged that Ryan contacted the teenager on Facebook after meeting her through his work as a taxi driver and arranged for her to go to his former home in Feltwell Place in Haverhill

He had allegedly sexually assaulted her in his kitchen before forcing her to perform a sex act on him in the living room.

The girl had continued to visit Ryan’s home and there had allegedly been further occasions when he had sexually assaulted and orally raped her. 

She didn’t report  Ryan, who has no previous convictions, to the police until 2019.

On Friday ( September 17) the court heard from a number of character witnesses called by the defence.

Neil Bowers told the court Ryan had taken him under his wing after his brother died in an accident in 1997 and had steered him in the right direction.

“He is a diamond. You know where you stand with him. He is a great bloke,” said Mr Bowers.

His parents praised Ryan for helping them organise fundraising events after their son’s death and described him as “trustworthy and kind-hearted.”

The trial continues next week.