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Archery coach in court facing child sex charges

Will Taylor and Stephen Delahunty

Will Taylor and Stephen Delahunty

An archery coach who volunteered at SportsAble gave evidence in court yesterday (Wednesday) as he stands trial for charges including the rape of a child under 13.

Alan Clarke, 54, of White Paddock, Maidenhead, also faces five counts of sexual assault of a child under 13, and one count of inciting sexual activity with a child under 13.

All of those are alleged to have been committed against two girls.

He also faces one count of indecent assault of a girl under 16 years old and one count of indecency with a child.

The offences are alleged to have happened between 2003 and 2014.

None of the alleged victims can be named for legal reasons.

Clarke denies all those charges.

The trial began at Reading Crown Court on Tuesday, September 12. The next day members of the jury were informed Clarke had admitted two charges of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child.

These relate to a girl Clarke met while living in Kent in 2003.

Yesterday (Wednesday), Clarke appeared in the witness box wearing a maroon jumper and blue jeans, using two crutches to walk.

When asked by defence lawyer Ed Butler how he felt about what he had done in 2003, Clarke said he was ‘ashamed’.

“I am sorry that I put her through it at that time. I shouldn’t have done it,” he said.

“I just wish I could go back and not do it.”

On Wednesday, September 13, prosecutor Michael Roques outlined the Crown’s case that in 2003, Clarke performed oral sex on, and penetrated the mouth of, a girl under 16.

Yesterday, Clarke said no attempt was made to try oral sex until the girl was 16.

Mr Roques also told the jury that Clarke had touched another underage girl over her pants, and underneath her shorts.

Last week, the girl told the jury that in one incident, ‘his hands rested on my leg’ and ‘his fingers were touching the shorts’.

Clarke said he believed he had fallen near to her in a different incident, and had difficulty walking around due to his bad back, which he suffered from a fall ‘a while ago’.

When asked by Mr Butler if he had touched any part of the girl, Clarke said: “I have no recollection of doing that.”

Mr Roques also alleged that Clarke had raped a different underage girl, touched her inside her bra, and persuaded her to masturbate him.

Earlier in the trial, the jury heard a police interview with the girl, who repeatedly described Clarke as a ‘weirdo’.

When Mr Butler asked if Clarke raped her, he replied: “No, I did not.”

‘Absolutely nothing’ happened that night, he said.

On Tuesday the mother of the girl described a number of incidents, including a time she caught Clarke stroking her daughter’s hair.

The jury heard that last year the alleged victim eventually told her mother what had happened after receiving a phone call from another person the girl had confided in.

“I said to her, ‘I think we need to talk, don’t we?’” the mother told the jury.

“She said, ‘the b****** raped me’.”

Mr Butler asserted it was only in light of the allegations the mother viewed incidents in the past differently and compared her evidence in court to her original statement to police.

She was directed to a page in her written statement that dealt with the hair stroking incident.

“You have written, ‘I felt he was comforting her and thought nothing of it’,” Mr Butler said.

The jury also heard that Clarke is impotent, and has trouble sustaining an erection.

He said he couldn’t remember the last time he had done so, and added: “I stay clear from having partners because of the embarrassment.”

Clarke, who has lived in Maidenhead for about 15 years, has attempted suicide since the allegations were made against him last year, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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