Former Esher and Molesey scout leader denies historic sexual abuse charges

A former scout leader had the “perfect cover” to allegedly groom a boy who thought of him as a hero, a court has heard.

William Dell, of Faraday Road, West Molesey, is accused of historic indecent assaults on a boy and girl more than 40 years ago.

Appearing at Guildford Crown Court yesterday the 70-year-old denied four counts of indecent assault with a male, one count of gross indecency with a child under 14 and one count of indecent assault with a female person under 13.

All the charges refer to a three-year period between July 1971 and July 1974.

After joining the Navy aged 18, Mr Dell was in a reserve position in 1971 and became an assistant leader at the 2nd Esher scout group, the court heard.

He moved on to the 3rd Molesey scout group in 1973, where a boy he allegedly assaulted was a member.

Prosecutor Richard Bendall said: “You had the perfect cover didn’t you, because you were a respected scout?”

He asked Mr Dell, who needed to use an inhaler several times while giving evidence, if he had groomed the young boy and then become so “confident” he had also touched another young girl.

After needing an explanation as to what grooming was, Mr Dell denied this.

But Mr Bendall said: “Do you agree that really back in the 1970s there was a lot less awareness of sexual abuse?”

Mr Dell agreed. He added: “I was aware of my sexuality and I wasn’t proud of it, I didn’t want to be.”

While in the witness box he confirmed that in a previous police interview he said he had never had a sexual relationship with an adult male or female.

Mr Bendall asked: “Is that why you were drawn to the scouting association?

“Have you tried to blank all this out to pretend that it didn’t happen?”

Mr Dell answered: “Not at all.”

The offences are alleged to have taken place in a family home in West Molesey and are said to have happened while Mr Dell was alone with children in their bedrooms.

But he denies ever being alone with the children or in any bedrooms of the home, saying he only ever popped in for a cup of tea a handful of times to speak about scouting events with an adult.

While giving evidence during day five of the trial, an alleged victim’s family member said when Mr Dell, or Willy as he was called, came into their lives, he “brought some laughter into the house”.

She told the jury: “He [the victim] broke down in tears and said that he’d been sexually abused by Willy Dell. He didn’t go into lots of detail but that’s what he told me.”

She said Mr Dell had been thought of as “a pillar of the community in those days, it seemed” as he had been heavily involved in football coaching, scouting and church parades.

The court heard the alleged male victim only told a sister about the alleged abuse when he was 18 years old.

Giving evidence earlier in the week he said Mr Dell had been a hero figure to him.

Defence counsel Harold Persaud asked Mr Dell if he had ever had any physical contact with the children or any sexual touching. Mr Dell denied everything.

Character references read out in court described Mr Dell as a friendly person with a love for football and scouting.

The letters also referred to his devotion to a frail couple who lived next to him in recent years.

The trial continues.

Verisona Law have specific expertise in dealing with claims in respect of alleged assalts carried out by Scoutmasters. If you were subject to abuse please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence.


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

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Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

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