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Jury retires in case of former Accrington policeman
1:00pm Friday 18th October 2013 in News
A jury has retired to consider its verdicts in the trial of a retired police sergeant extradited from Australia to face charges of historic sex abuse.
Jeffrey Lake, 78, is said to have subjected his two victims to "quite appalling abuse" at a time when he was a serving police officer in Accrington, and Liverpool.
The defendant emigrated to Australia in 2002 and had been living there for seven years when one of the complainants walked into a police station in Lancashire and said Lake had sexually and physically abused her as a child.
The woman was interviewed at length and when the investigation widened a second person claimed he too had been abused by the defendant, Preston Crown Court was told.
She claims that Lake moved from the UK to avoid his past after she had previously written letters to him describing the agony he had put her through.
Lake, who has family connections in Australia, said that was not true and he simply was looking for a better life.
He faces 20 allegations of historic abuse including rape, buggery, indecency with a child, indecent assault and child cruelty, said to have taken place in the 1960s and early 1970s.
The jury was told the defendant served in the police in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
Opening the case, prosecutor Louise Whaites said the alleged female victim went on to suffer from depression and anxiety and had attempted suicide - as had the alleged male victim in the case.
"She was clearly unable to cope with what happened to her," she said.
In the mid-1970s she wrote to the defendant and told him how she felt about what he had allegedly done to her, the jury was told.
She received no response or acknowledgement from Lake.
Following his emigration, she wrote more letters to him in which she said she was concerned that he had not changed and would go on to commit similar offences.
She said her death "wouldn't bring matters to a close for him" because she had told her GP, her husband and also her children about the abuse.
Lake told the court he had never received any of the letters she claimed she had sent.
In December 2009 she finally made a complaint to the police.
Giving evidence, Lake denied all the charges against him and said he was "not of the persuasion" of someone who sexually abuses children.
He said he had never thought of returning to Britain since his move because he had no reason to do so and the expense of travelling.
Lake claimed illness preventing him flying over for his son's wedding in Lancashire.
It was suggested his accusers had a personal hostility towards him which had led them to give false testimony to the court.
Under cross-examination, the alleged female victim denied the abuse was a figment of her imagination gleaned from reading books such as Dave Pelzer's A Child Called It.
She denied that book, which details the physical abuse of a child by his mother, had influenced her in any way to believe she had been abused herself.
Lake, of Peregian Springs, Queensland, has no previous convictions.