ONE of two young men allegedly abused sexually by a west Cumbrian pensioner who worked in local theatres told a jury that the defendant Paul Stuart Adams was a 'master manipulator.'

The witness made the comment as he was being cross-examined by defence barrister Richard Dawson at Carlisle Crown Court.

Adams, 74, of Banklands, Workington, has pleaded not guilty to 15 sex offences, which include multiple child sex allegations as well as paying for the sexual services of a child.

Prosecutor Robert Wyn Jones had earlier told the jury that the defendant, while working at theatres in Whitehaven and Workington, had taken advantage of two boys who were interested in acting.

The prosecution case is that one victim visited Adams at his home, where the teenager was given whiskey before Adams asked him to strip naked.

The first alleged victim had a drug problem and Adams took advantage of this, paying the boy sums of between £100 and £200 so that he could touch him sexually or get him to strip naked, the court heard.

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Now a young man, the witness was questioned about a series of emails between him and Adams over a three-week period. In one, the defendant told the boy: “I haven’t frightened you off.”

As far as he could recall, said the witness, that was a reference to the first incident when the defendant asked him to undress.

Mr Dawson then quoted from a second email sent by the defendant to the boy, in which he said: “Thanks for taking the time to come to see me. I found it productive. I hope you did.

“It’s good to get to know you a bit better. I think we will get along very well. Suffice to say, I will support as far as I can. If you want my advice on anything, you only have to ask.”

The barrister suggested that the witness was manipulative and passed off other people’s experiences as his own. The witness responded with: “I was manipulated – both manipulated and groomed.”

He said people he knew thought it would be good for him to spend time with Adams. “Years of my life have been taken from me,” he said. “Years of my life which I will never get back.”

He said the barrister’s comments were “out of order.” Mr Dawson countered with: “You will twist the truth.” The witness said: “Again, I will say the only person who is twisting the truth and manipulating in this courtroom is Mr Adams. He’s a master manipulator.”

In earlier evidence, the witness spoke of withdrawing from drugs and alcohol, adding: "It wasn't until I started to put things together in my head that I eventually had a breakdown, crying for my mum and dad and I ended up seeing the police."

Six of the 15 charges faced by the defendant relate to two 'child' victims – either paying a child for sexual services – or indecent assaults on a child; and three of those five charges are specimen counts relating to multiple alleged incidents.

The remaining nine charges are sexual assaults.

The trial continues.

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