Sexual assault trial – day two

Latest court news.
Latest court news.

Two alleged victims of sexual assault have claimed the ordeal left them scared, angry and violated.

These statements were heard at Newcastle Crown Court today, during the second day of a trial relating to Mark Richard Griffiths, 55, of Cow Road, Spittal, Berwick, who has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault – three of assault by touching and one of assault by penetration with his fingers.

The charges relate to four different girls, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, with three of the alleged offences taking place in January this year and the other in August, 2014.

The prosecution says that the three offences in January took place during a party on a Saturday night at the defendant’s house, while the fourth alleged victim came forward in the light of these allegations to report an offence at a similar event last year.

Today, one of the alleged victims, aged 17 at the time, claimed that Griffiths tried to kiss her while walking her back home after the party in January.

In a video interview with the police a week after the incident, which was shown to the jury this morning, she claimed that Griffiths had said ‘I know you want it’, before grabbing her head and going in for a kiss. She said that she pushed Griffiths away. She added that he tried to pull at her trousers, but she once again pushed him away.

“I was actually quite scared and a bit angry as well. It made me feel sick. He is an old man,” she said in interview.

The second teenager, who gave evidence today, claimed that Griffiths touched her thigh and bottom and tried to touch her breast during the party in August last year. She was 16 at the time and said in police interview that she felt disgusting and violated.

She also claimed that Griffiths later tried to kiss her as she was leaving the house at the end of the party.

“I thought he was trying to kiss me on the lips, but I turned away and he kissed me on the cheek,” she said.

The court heard that, at the same party, Griffiths had taken pictures of the girls in a hot tub at the house.

In cross-examination, the defence heard from the second teenager’s mother. She said that her daughter had told her the following morning about the kiss. The mother said that she didn’t think anything of it at the time, as she thought it was just a goodbye kiss and that her daughter had said that Griffiths was drunk. The mother added that the defendant, who she has known for more than 10 years, was the sort of man who would ‘greet you with a cuddle or a kiss’.

However, she said that it wasn’t until January of this year, when two police officers came to her house, that she learnt about further allegations relating to Griffiths.

Yesterday, the first two alleged victims, 16 and 17 at the time, both claimed they became ill after the defendant gave them a shot of vodka, which could have been spiked, during the party in January.

Griffiths is expected to give evidence tomorrow.

The trial continues.