Mechanic denies fleeing country to avoid sex allegations

Mechanic tells jury claims came as ‘a complete shock’.

A mechanic who was extradited from Florida has denied fleeing the country to escape child sex allegations.

David James was flown back from the United States last year after two women made separate allegations that he abused them when they were growing up in Honiton.

The 61-year-old truck engineer had been living abroad for a decade when he was arrested in April 2012 and told a jury he was shocked to hear the allegations against him.

James is accused of molesting the girls when they were aged between seven and 11 and went to play in his garden or stayed with him in the Midlands.

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They allege he groomed them by giving them treats and calling them ‘My Little Princess’ and then secured their silence by threats and bribes.

Father-of-five James, formerly of Livermore Road, Honiton, 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.

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Grey-bearded James said he was aware of some allegations against him before he moved to America in 2002 but told Exeter Crown Court they had nothing to do with him leaving the country.

He said: “I went to America with my partner Peggy, who is American and who I married more than 10 years ago. For the last 10 years I have lived in Florida.

“The first I knew of the extradition proceedings was when I was arrested last year. It was a complete shock to me but I agreed to come back to the UK voluntarily.

“Since moving to Florida I have been working as an HGV technician, supervising a workshop.”

He said he had no idea why the two women had made their allegations against him and said his only contact with them was when he gave them piggy back rides in his garden.

He said at the time he was working for Express Dairies in Honiton and living in a three-bedroomed semi with a large garden which was overlooked by at least five houses.

He knew the girls because they came to play with his sons but insisted he had never touched them sexually.

He said: ”They are not telling the truth. I have never had any sexual interest in young girls. I did not move to America because I was worried about bumping into people who could remember things.”

The trial continues.

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