Child sex charges 'ridiculous', says accused
THE founder of a Langport care home for children, who is accused of serious sexual offences against two school-age girls, told a jury the allegations were "ridiculous".
Stephen Hyland, 54, of Aller Road, Langport, described one of his accusers as "a very damaged child" to whom he spoke in private "at her request, totally appropriately".
He added: "These youngsters can quickly become fixated on someone. I reported concerns I had and was drawing attention to everything that was going on."
Mr Hyland, who set up an organisation named Prospects, told Taunton Crown Court he was not a qualified social worker but added: "I am not completely untrained. I have been on a number of courses and we have psychiatrists, psychologists and consultants."
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Questioned by Ian Dixey, prosecuting, about a tape recording made in secret by one of the girls "because she wanted to prove that she was telling the truth", he replied that it was "not a full recording of the conversation". Mr Dixey insisted: "This is a continuously-recorded tape. This is an unbroken recording."
Mr Hyland replied "It is a recording of the last few minutes and not of everything that was discussed."
He has pleaded not guilty to five charges of indecent assault, four of rape, two of cruelty to a young person, and three of serious sexual abuse.
The trial continues.