A READING builder said allegations of sexual abuse “destroyed” him when he was charged last year.
Martin Collins, of Lower Henley Road, Caversham, is currently standing trial for charges of sexual assault against two girls more than a dozen years apart.
The 65-year-old took to the dock today at Reading Crown Court having previously denied all allegations made against him.
Taking questions from defence counsel Lyall Thompson, the 65-year-old denied all suggestions he had sexually abused the two girls.
Previously, the court heard Mr Collins had invited the girl he is initially alleged to have abused round to his house for a pizza play-date with his family.
READ MORE: Women describes moment alleged abuser had been charged with sexual assault
But the Caversham man denied this version of events, suggesting no one in his family likes pizza and that the girl left his house just minutes after she arrived.
When asked by Mr Thompson how the accusations made him feel, he said: “[I was] destroyed.
“We couldn’t work it out.
“How could I? It is absolutely ridiculous.
“It has been 14 months of hell [from the time the accusations emerged to the time of the trial].”
He would later describe having felt like he was living like a “caveman” and “bursting into tears” having been accused of sexual abuse.
The 65-year-old also denied inappropriately touching a second girl over the 2019/2020 New Year period, only admitting to touching her knee to get her attention on one occasion.
Mr Collins was then quizzed by the prosecution about previous statements he had made from the dock.
READ MORE: Girl said she was too scared to tell anyone about alleged sexual abuse
Barnaby Shaw, prosecuting, challenged Mr Collins on the way he touched both girls on the occasions he had given them cuddles and kisses.
Mr Shaw also commented on the allegation from the first girl that he forced her hand down his jogging bottoms during a visit to his house, something Mr Collins denies.
The prosecution said: “I suggest you have a vivid memory of that moment”, to which Mr Collins replied he “didn’t do it.”
Mr Shaw continued: “You molested her in the way she described.”
The defendant responded: “Never.”
Earlier today, the court heard a transcript of Martin Collins’s interview with police back in March 2020, following the second allegations made against him.
In this interview, he denied sexually assaulting the first girl in the 2000s, claiming there was “no way” he touched the child as alleged.
Asked by police why he thought the girl had accused him of sexual abuse, he said the child had “issues” when she was younger.
READ MORE: Child sex abuse trial delayed after jury members say they are too cold to sit in court
He added: “I can’t answer you. I don’t know what is going on.
“All I know is that this has ruined months of my life.
“I don’t get it, I really don’t get it.”
During the interview, he admitted once “accidentally” brushing the girl’s breast some years after the alleged abuse, an incident he said he immediately apologised for as it was a mistake and one he later claimed in court that he was “embarrassed” about.
The police officer interviewing Mr Collins asked him if he had feelings for the girl he allegedly abused in the 2000s.
He replied: “No I don’t.
“If you know me like people know me, I’m not a child molester. No f****** way, oh God!”
Before the jury was dismissed for the day, they heard from Mr Collins’s daughter, Zoe, who described her father as a “great” and “fantastic” person who was “funny” and a hard-worker.
Mr Collins denies five counts of sexual assault of a child under 13; six counts of indecent assault; one count of gross indecency; one count of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity; and one count of assaulting a child under 13 by penetration.
The trial is set to continue next week.
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