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Lady Lavinia Nourse told police that abuse of boy never happened, trial told




The widow of a Court of Appeal judge told police that her alleged sexual abuse of a young boy in the 1980s 'simply never happened', a court has heard.

Lady Lavinia Nourse, of Newmarket, is on trial at Peterborough’s Nightingale court, in the Knight’s Chamber at the city’s cathedral, charged with historical sexual abuse.

The 77-year-old was married to Sir Martin Nourse, who died in 2017 aged 85.

Lavinia Nourse arrives at Knights Chamber, Peterborough Cathedral, where she is charged with 17 counts of historical sexual abuse (Jacob King/PA)
Lavinia Nourse arrives at Knights Chamber, Peterborough Cathedral, where she is charged with 17 counts of historical sexual abuse (Jacob King/PA)

She was voluntarily interviewed about allegations of historical sexual abuse at Parkside police station in Cambridge in January 2019 with a solicitor present, the court heard on Thursday.

A transcript of part of her interview under police caution was read to the jury, with Detective Constable Mark Beaven reading his lines and Lady Nourse’s responses read by prosecution barrister Jennifer Knight QC.

In the interview transcript, Mr Beaven asked Lady Nourse: “What account could you give me about that allegation?”

Lady Lavinia Nourse is standing trial in the Knights Chamber at Peterborough Cathedral Visitor And Learning Centre (Jacob King/ PA)
Lady Lavinia Nourse is standing trial in the Knights Chamber at Peterborough Cathedral Visitor And Learning Centre (Jacob King/ PA)

She replied: “It simply never happened.”

Lady Nourse denied that she ever sexually assaulted the boy and denied allowing him to touch her in a sexual or inappropriate way.

She told the officer: “I had depression, mental breakdown, I suffer from quite severe depression.”

Mr Beaven asked if this 'incapacitated' her, to which she replied: 'Yes, I was receiving therapy.'

Lavinia Nourse
Lavinia Nourse

Asked how often this was she replied 'not really', adding: “It was an aim to get me back on my feet, it got less and less.”

She said she was never admitted to hospital but had appointments with the then head of the psychiatric department at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

She said he allowed her to use a rear entrance to the hospital so she did not have to come through the main building 'to help me to keep my dignity'.

Lady Nourse denies 17 counts of sexually abusing a boy under the age of 12.

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

The trial continues.

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