Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Jersey abuse trial jury retires

Gordon Wateridge arriving at a previous hearing
Gordon Wateridge denies all the charges against him

The jury in the trial of a carer accused of abusing teenagers at a former children's home in Jersey has retired to consider its verdicts.

Gordon Wateridge, who worked at the Haut de la Garenne home, denies 19 counts of indecent assault relating to five victims between 1970 and 1974.

The 78-year-old is also charged with assaulting a teenage boy and incitement to indecent assault.

Jersey Royal Court has heard he was a "persistent sexual bully".

Prosecutors said he would grope girls' breasts, kiss them on the neck and, in one instance, forced his hand inside an alleged victim's underwear.

Mr Wateridge worked as a house-parent at the home and lived in a flat there with his wife and two children at the time of the alleged offences.

He has pleaded not guilty to all 21 charges and claimed the allegations have ruined his life.

Giving evidence at the court in St Helier, he said: "I did my best in the care of the children. I looked upon the children the same as I would my own.

"I've never struck a child, I've never even struck my own."

Mr Wateridge was born in Croydon, south London, but now lives in the Jersey parish of St Clement.

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