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Trial starts of Harold Hill man, 66, accused of historical sex offences against young boy in Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 18:15 14 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:27 16 August 2017

Peter Hopkins outside Snaresbrook Crown Court. He's accused of seven counts of historical sex offences. Picture: Ken Mears

Peter Hopkins outside Snaresbrook Crown Court. He's accused of seven counts of historical sex offences. Picture: Ken Mears

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A 66-year-old man allegedly sexually assaulted a young boy in the cubicles of Hornchurch Baths in the late 1970s, a court heard.

Peter Hopkins, 66, of Dagnam Park Drive, Harold Hill, is on trial for seven counts of historical sex offences against the child between April 1976 and March 1979.

He is charged with indecently assaulting the boy, who was aged between eight and 10-years-old, and inciting the boy, who is now in his late 40s, to commit acts of gross indecency.

He denies all the charges.

Noel Casey, prosecuting, told the jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court: “He [the victim] has carried this emotional baggage around for many years.

“His mother didn’t hear about this until 2008 at a date and it came in a state of distress when he told members of his family that he had been abused by the defendant.

“Having discussed the situation with his partner in 2013, he was persuaded to go the police station and report the abuse that he had happened so many years before.”

The court heard how Mr Hopkins, who previously worked for Havering Council, used to take a friend’s son and the victim, who lived next door to each other, swimming at Hornchurch Baths, in Hornchurch Road.

In a police video played to the court, the victim spoke quietly as he recounted the incidents alleged to have taken place.

“He would take us swimming and he would put us in separate cubicles and he would go from one to the other and would touch me and he would ask me to touch him,” the jury heard.

Mr Hopkins is also accused of performing oral acts on the child.

On another occasion, the two boys slept over the defendant’s house where he made them wash together in front of him, it was claimed.

Mr Casey added: “He told them to wash properly between their buttocks, he made the friend of the victim show how it was done.

“Then asked them to wash each other while the defendant watched.”

The court also heard how at a sleepover, Mr Hopkins climbed into bed with the two boys and tried to rape the victim.

Mr Casey told the jury: “This incident didn’t occur because the friend of the victim told the defendant to stop.

“That is the only reason why it stopped.”

The case continues.

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