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Witness ‘lost for words’ at sexual remarks about girls
A WITNESS said she was “lost for words” when she heard former Abingdon Chamber of Commerce boss Paul Townsend making sexual comments about teenage girls.
The 28-year-old, of Hadland Road, Abingdon, quit his position on the town’s chamber after he was accused of sexually abusing four girls over a two-year period. He denies 21 counts – 14 of sexual activity with a child, three of sexual assault and four of causing or inciting a child to engage in sex.
The complainants in the case are aged between 13 and 16 and Townsend is accused of making repeated comments about their breasts and when they would be “legal”.
Fern Russell, prosecuting, said he tried to “progress” from simply hugging the girls to groping and eventually having full sex with one when she was just 13 years old.
Townsend was also on the committee of Dunmore Pre-school in the town and sat on the board of the Choose Abingdon Partnership.
Earlier in the trial, Miss Russell told the jury one of his alleged victims had kicked Townsend in the shins when he touched her bottom.
Yesterday a woman gave evidence on day eight of the trial about finding out about the defendant getting kicked.
She said: “I told him ‘you clearly deserved it’ and he just laughed when I said ‘what did you do?’”
The woman explained that she had heard Townsend making sexual comments about the girls and had challenged him on it.
She said she asked him how he would like it if someone was making such comments about his daughter when she was older.
The witness said Townsend replied that his daughter would have “fit” friends at that age.
The woman told the jury: “To be honest with that one, I’m very rarely lost for words, but there were no words to describe it.”
She explained that when it came to the hugs Townsend would frequently ask the girls for, she “did her best” to stop it from happening, but without success.
Katy Thorne, defending, suggested to the witness that the comments had been “teasing” and not meant seriously.
The trial continues at Oxford Crown Court.