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 in Suffolk, 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.

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 Lavinia’s responses read by prosecution barrister Jennifer Knight QC.

Lady Lavinia Nourse arrives at Knights Chamber, Peterborough Cathedral
Lady Lavinia Nourse arrives at Knights Chamber, Peterborough Cathedral (Jacob King/PA)

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

She replied: “It simply never happened.”

Lady Lavinia 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.”

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 Lavinia 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.