Exeter Crown Court hears alleged victims only went to police years after claimed abuse.

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An alleged paedophile, formerly of Honiton, was extradited from the United States after two women met by chance and agreed to go to the police together more than a decade after they were allegedly abused.

Exeter Crown Court has heard that the two women kept their childhood traumas secret until they met as adults and discovered they had endured almost identical ordeals.

They finally went to the police in 2007 and sparked a five-year investigation which led to 61-year-old David James being traced to Florida and extradited last year.

James lived in Honiton and allegedly abused the girls after they went to his home to play in his large garden with his sons, a jury was told.

He allegedly groomed both for sex by touching them as they played and his attacks became more serious as he gained the confidence of the girls, who were aged seven to 11 at the time.

James, formerly of Livermore Road, and latterly of Skyline Drive, Orlando, Florida, denies two offences of rape and three indecent assaults on one girl, who was aged seven to 11, and six offences of indecency against the second girl, who was ten and 11.

Grey-haired and grey-bearded James, who moved to Florida 10 years ago, sat in the dock wearing spectacles and a hearing loop headset, smartly dressed in a dark jacket, blue jersey and tie.

Mr Nicolas Gerasimides, prosecuting, told the jury all the offences dated back to between 1983 and 1995, during which time James switched his attentions from the first victim to the second.

He allegedly secured their silence by a mixture of psychological threats and bribery, telling both girls they would not be believed and would get into trouble if they exposed what he was doing.

James is said to have called each of the girls ‘my little Princess’ and made them feel important and wanted when they visited his house, but the jury were told this was part of his grooming process.

Mr Gerasimides said: “Both women say he called them his little Princess and made them feel wanted and secure, but it always had a sinister twist.”

Both girls told police they tried to tell people at the time but neither went through with it and they kept their experiences to themselves until 2007.

Mr Gerasimides said: “It was not until the two complainants met in 2007 that they went to the police. The two knew each other and when they met as friends they discovered that each had been abused separately.

“By this time the defendant was living in America, having moved there and started a new life with another woman. Ultimately, there was a process of extradition which led him to being here in court.

“It is a process whereby someone accused of offences is brought back to face the music, as it were, and that is what happened with this defendant.”

Mr Gerasimides alleged James’ attacks on the first girl had escalated in seriousness until he raped her twice, once at his own home and once at a friend’s house during a 40th birthday party.

The trial continues.

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