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Trial begins for police officer from Harold Wood accused of raping schoolgirl

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:41 13 January 2016

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: John Stillwell/PA

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: John Stillwell/PA

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A policeman accused of raping a schoolgirl used social media to initiate a relationship, a court heard yesterday.

Pc John Wigglesworth, 46, of The Ridgeway, Harold Wood, who is accused of three counts of rape and two counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Sally Fudge, prosecuting, said the defendant, who appeared in the dock wearing a grey suit and blue shirt, made contact with the “young, naive and vulnerable” girl, a school pupil in Redbridge, through the website Netlog under the name John Smith in 2007, when the girl was 14-years-old.

“Her profile made it clear she was 14-years-old,” said Ms Fudge, before explaining how Mr Wigglesworth allegedly spoke to the girl, now 22, about one of her recently deceased relatives.

“She didn’t know how he knew about it but she took the opportunity to talk to the defendant [Mr Wigglesworth] about it.

“She said that she trusted him because he told her he was a police officer.”

Ms Fudge told the jury how they exchanged mobile phone numbers and how the defendant suggested that they meet up somewhere.

“He picked her up from her school in his car knowing what her age was,” Ms Fudge told jurors.

“He leaned over in the car and tried to kiss her – something that she thought was strange, but she went back with him to his house because she didn’t know what else to do.”

The prosecution lawyer claimed Mr Wigglesworth, once the pair was back at his house, began to initiate sex with the teenager.

She said he had led the girl upstairs and pushed her on his bed after she said she did not want to have sex.

It is alleged that he then undressed himself and the girl before forcing his penis inside her vagina.

Ms Fudge added: “She told him it was hurting but it did not stop him. After having got what he wanted, he got dressed and went downstairs. She did not know what to do and laid there on the bed.

“After, she went downstairs and the defendant offered to take her home. She felt unable to say anything to anyone so she didn’t report anything.”

It is claimed that a similar incident took place about a week later resulting in a further rape.

Mr Wigglesworth allegedly picked up the girl “a few times a week” thereafter.

Ms Fudge told jurors: “After a few months, she says she gave up fighting – she just relented.

“She said he convinced her that he loved her and that the two of them were going to run away together when she was 16. But he distanced himself from her once she was 16.”

The alleged incidents took place between 2007 and 2009, when the claimant was 14 and 15-years-old.

The incidents were reported to police in 2013 and Mr Wigglesworth was arrested in connection in August last year.

Mr Wigglesworth denies all charges.

The trial continues.

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