Felixstowe: Friends recall moment when girl made abuse claim

SUFFOLK: A woman has recalled how a school friend broke down in tears more than two decades ago when it “dawned on her” that she had been the victim of alleged sexual abuse.

Ipswich Crown Court heard how the witness, who is now in her 30s, recalled an incident when she was 12 or 13 when her friend, who was the same age, came to school in Felixstowe looking pale and “shaken up”.

She said that she and some other close friends had pressed her about what was wrong and the girl had become very distressed.

“She didn’t want to say but we kept pressing her and she said something had happened when she was younger-something she now realised wasn’t right,” said the witness. She added her friend had then described how a man she knew had played a game with her that she was meant to keep a secret and she now realised what he had allegedly been doing was sexual abuse.

The witness said her friend described how the man had touched and kissed her genital area.

“It was as if it had just dawned on her what was going on.”

She said that at that time she and her friends had just been becoming aware of sexual matters through hearing older girls at school talking.

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The witness was giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court on the second day of the trial of Ian Flatman, 50 of King Street, Felixstowe, who has denied three offences of indecent assault between May 1976 and May 1978.

At the time of the alleged offences he was aged between 17 and 19 and the alleged victim was aged between four and six.

The court has heard that in the 1970s Flatman’s parents had run a fish and chip shop in Beach Station Road, Felixstowe, and two of the alleged offences had taken place in living accommodation at the premises.

The court has heard that the alleged victim who is now in her 30s made a statement to police about the allegations in March last year and Flatman had been arrested a month later.

During an interview with police Flatman had denied the allegations and said he could not think why the alleged victim would say such things.

The trial continues today.

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