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.

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