Trial hears alleged victim of historical sex offences in Hornchurch has been convicted of possessing child porn

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 - Credit: Archant

A man who has accused a former council worker of sexually assaulting him as a young boy, has previously been convicted of downloading indecent images of children, a court heard.

The man, now in his late 40s, has claimed Peter Hopkins, 66, of Dagnam Park Drive, Harold Hill, sexually assaulted him between April 1976 and March 1979.

Mr Hopkins is standing trial for seven counts of historical sex offences at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

On Monday the prosecution alleged he indecently assaulted the victim, when he was aged between eight and 10, in the cubicle at Hornchurch Baths, as well as trying to rape him on a sleepover.

Mr Hopkins denies all charges.

Yesterday the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was accused of fabricating the charges to excuse his own criminality.

Cross examining him, Monica Stevenson, defending, told the jury: “You were arrested for being in possession of indecent images of children.

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“You were arrested and convicted in court. You pleaded guilty to those charges.”

The court heard the man is also subject to a sexual harm prevention order and required to sign the sex offenders register until a time in 2019.

He is required by law to inform anyone he is in a relationship with, who has access to children, of the order and admitted breaching it three times.

But he told the jury that he does not have a perverse interest in children.

“The images exceeded 10,000,” Miss Stevenson told the court.

“Why did you download them?”

The man told the jury that he used the images as currency.

He said: “I went on the internet to talk to people on there. I wanted to know why someone would do that [abuse children].”

But Miss Stevenson continued: “The images were acquired over a period of three years between November 2005 and February 2008.”

“To amass 10,000 images whenever you were on [the internet means] you were downloading a substantial amount,” she told the jury

“They included images of toddlers and babies. Those images involved penetrative activity with adults.

“Those children were real.

“That was somebody’s real life abuse that you were watching.

“If you yourself had been abused as a child, this is the last type of thing you would want to engage in.”

Miss Stevenson accused the witness of making up his alleged experience of abuse.

“You only told your parents when you had been arrested for the indecent images,” she told the court.

“Did you come out with the accounts of abuse to explain your own criminal conduct?

“Was this account of childhood abuse something which you invented in order to present yourself as a victim rather than a perpetrator?

The man denied this accusation.

The case continues.