Harpist and former fiance face jail over abuse of schoolboy in 1980s

A judge told a world-renowned female harpist and her ex-fiance that they face jail as they were convicted of sexually abusing a schoolboy in the 1980s.

Danielle Perrett, 59, and her former partner Richard Barton-Wood, 68, had denied all charges at Ipswich Crown Court but jurors found them guilty after more than nine hours of deliberation and a four-week trial.

Their accuser, now an adult, had alleged the pair committed a series of sexual offences against him while he was in his early teens in the 1980s.

He said Barton-Wood, who had worked as a substitute teacher at his school, sexually assaulted him on sailing trips and camping trips, and that on separate occasions Perrett took his virginity and performed sex acts on him.

The pair had said that the allegations were untrue, the incidents did not happen and that their accuser was trying to blackmail them.

Perrett, of Bridge Street, Alpheton, Suffolk, was found guilty by majority verdicts of six counts of indecent assault.

Earlier in the trial, the judge had directed jurors to return not guilty verdicts in respect of two further counts of indecent assault.

Barton-Wood, of Church Street, Wymondham, Norfolk, was found guilty by majority verdicts of seven counts of indecent assault and of one count of attempted indecent assault.

The judge earlier directed jurors to return a not guilty verdict to a charge of attempting to commit the act of buggery.

Perrett sat at the rear of the court beside her lawyer and Barton-Wood sat behind his barrister as the verdicts were read out.

Barton-Wood looked downwards as the jury foreman returned the guilty verdicts and Perrett stared straight ahead.

At the end of the hearing Judge Rupert Overbury asked the two defendants to stand.

He said: "I make no bones about this at all. The sentence which you're facing when you return to this court is prison and the length of that sentence will depend on further information."

He continued: "These are serious sexual offences for which you fall to be sentenced."

Both defendants will now be required to register as sex offenders.

They were bailed to return to the court for sentencing in the week commencing February 26.

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