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Lady Lavinia Nourse, of Newmarket, denies sexually abusing a young boy in the 1980s and said accuser wanted money from her




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, of The Severals in Newmarket's Bury Road, was married to Sir Martin Nourse, who died in 2017 aged 85.

The 77-year-old told jurors at a nightingale court in the Knight's Chamber at Peterborough Cathedral, that a man, who has accused her of sexually abusing him as a boy in the 1980s, was “obviously after money”.

Lavinia Nourse, 77, of Newmarket who is on trial at a nightingale court in Peterborough.
Lavinia Nourse, 77, of Newmarket who is on trial at a nightingale court in Peterborough.

Defence barrister Jonathan Caplan asked Lady Nourse why she used the word 'blackmail' when the boy confronted her as an adult.

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

The man 'wanted anything he could get, I think', she said, and added he was 'obviously after money'.

Lavinia Nourse arrives at Knights Chamber, Peterborough Cathedral, where she is charged with 17 counts of historical sexual abuse (Jacob King/PA) (47182520)
Lavinia Nourse arrives at Knights Chamber, Peterborough Cathedral, where she is charged with 17 counts of historical sexual abuse (Jacob King/PA) (47182520)

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

Earlier today Lady Nourse broke down in tears in the witness box as she denied ever sexually abusing the boy.

Lady Nourse said that the boy was 'very psychologically disturbed' at the time he accused her of abuse.

Lady Lavinia Nourse is standing trial in the Knights Chamber at Peterborough Cathedral Visitor And Learning Centre (Jacob King/ PA) (47182524)
Lady Lavinia Nourse is standing trial in the Knights Chamber at Peterborough Cathedral Visitor And Learning Centre (Jacob King/ PA) (47182524)

“I was just completely and utterly shocked and bewildered,” she said.

Jennifer Knight, prosecuting barrister, asked Lady Nourse about her police interview in which she said she 'didn't remember' to a question about the allegations.

Lady Nourse said: "It's not that I don't remember it. My phraseology is poor. I was under terrible pressure."

She added she was at the police station for somewhere between five and six hours, and added that her accuser was 'most definitely lying'.

Lady Nourse said she agreed with defence counsel 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 Nourse said that she received therapy for depression at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, 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.

Lady Nourse 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.

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