Accuser wanted money from judge’s widow, sex abuse trial told

·2-min read

The widow of a Court of Appeal judge who is charged with historical sexual abuse has told a court that her accuser had wanted money from her.

Lady Lavinia Nourse was married to Sir Martin Nourse, who died in 2017 aged 85.

The 77-year-old told Peterborough’s Nightingale court that a man, who has accused her of sexually abusing him as a boy in the 1980s, was “obviously after money”.

Defence barrister Jonathan Caplan QC asked Lady Lavinia why she used the word “blackmail” when the boy confronted her as an adult.

She said that he was “making demands of me”, adding: “It seemed like it was to do with money.”

Lavinia Nourse court case
Lavinia Nourse, 77, denies abusing a boy in the 1980s (Jacob King/PA)

The man “wanted anything (he) could get, I think”, she said, adding he was “obviously after money”.

“I wasn’t in a position to give money away,” she said.

Lady Lavinia, of Newmarket, Suffolk, said the allegations of historical sexual abuse were “completely untrue”.

She wiped away tears while denying the charges.

Jennifer Knight QC, prosecuting, asked the defendant about her police interview in which Lady Lavinia replied that she “didn’t remember” to a question about the allegations.

She said: “It’s not that I don’t remember it.

“My phraseology is poor.

“I was under terrible pressure.”

She said that she was at the police station for “somewhere between five and six hours”.

Her accuser was “most definitely lying”, she said.

She agreed with Mr Caplan that in the past she had needed to seek treatment for depression.

“It was like a heavy cloud sitting over the top of me,” she said.

“One just kept going. Depression is a difficult thing.

“You’re not very energetic. It’s not a good place to be.”

Asked if it was possible that, while she was unwell, the allegations were something she “might have done and forgotten about”, she replied: “No, not possible.”

Lady Lavinia said that she received therapy for depression at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

She later returned to work in public relations where she organised premieres for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express and Phantom Of The Opera, she said, adding that she also helped organise the Queen’s 60th birthday celebrations.

The defendant denies 17 counts of sexually abusing a boy under the age of 12.

All of the charges relate to the same male complainant and are five counts of indecently assaulting a boy and 12 counts of indecency with a child.

The trial continues.