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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Alleged sex abuse victim asked for money, Carlisle court told

A former holiday coach driver told a court that a man who accused him of sexually abusing him as a boy had threatened to “get him” after he refused to give him £20,000 a few years ago.

Peter McLaughlin photo
Peter McLaughlin

Related: Coach driver did share bedroom with boy, Carlisle court told

Peter McLaughlin, 62, said the man phoned him “out of the blue” after hearing that he had been awarded more than £150,000 compensation after suffering post traumatic stress in a fatal accident while driving a coach in France.

McLaughlin, who used to live in Greystone Road, Carlisle, said the man, who has accused him of deliberately grooming him as a 13-year-old so he could sexually assault him on trips abroad, had found out that he was now living “everybody’s dream” in a “very nice, large house in a nice area” in the north east.

McLaughlin, who had been a friend of his alleged victim’s family when he worked for Redcrest Holidays while living in Carlisle, said the man phoned him asking for money to set up a business

McLaughlin said the conversation ended “not very nicely”, with the man shouting “I will get you for this.”

McLaughlin denies 15 charges of indecent assault.

The prosecution allege that McLaughlin abused the boy on coach trips after deliberately befriending him with the specific intention of sexually abusing him.

It alleges he frequently committed sexual acts with the boy in hotels where they were sharing a bedroom on foreign trips.

The charges only relate to incidents alleged to have happened in the UK - in hotels and at McLaughlin’s then home in Greystone Road - because anything that happened abroad would have been outside the jurisdiction of British courts.

The jury have been told he also assaulted the boy on trips to the continent because, the prosecution says, they help set the scene for what later happened back in England.

But in evidence, McLaughlin said the boy had never accompanied him on any of the coach trips, either in this country or abroad.

McLaughlin said his life changed when he was driving a bus full of passengers home from a holiday in Italy in April 1994.

As they passed Lille in France a young man committed suicide by deliberately driving up the wrong side of the motorway and crashing head-on into the coach, he said.

After civil proceedings in France, which lasted 16 years until 2010, he received compensation totalling more than £150,000, for post traumatic stress.

The trial continues.

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