Royal equerry Benjamin Herman 'flabbergasted' by abuse claim

Benjamin Herman Image copyright PA
Image caption Benjamin Herman served as equerry to Prince Philip

A former royal aide has told a court he was "outraged and flabbergasted" when he heard he was accused of sexually abusing a young girl in the 1970s.

Benjamin Herman, 80, of Hook, Hampshire, denies four counts of abuse against a girl under 13, while he worked at Buckingham Palace.

He told Blackfriars Crown Court he had "no knowledge" of his alleged victim.

Mr Herman said the claim he drove the girl around the forecourt of the palace was "complete fantasy".

"For someone in my position, it's just not done," he told the jury.

"You don't behave in that way. My service was to the Duke of Edinburgh and the Royal Family and I was very proud of that."

'Complete rubbish'

The former Royal Marines major was on secondment as an equerry at the time of the alleged assaults, between January 1972 and January 1974.

He later worked as the Princess Royal's private secretary.

While working for the duke he managed his official diary and accompanied him on official visits.

Referring to when he heard about the allegations, Mr Herman said: "I was outraged and flabbergasted. It was complete rubbish."

Mr Herman told the jury he did not know the alleged victim or any of her family.

He said he had never acting inappropriately with a girl of that age and there had "never" been complaints about his behaviour towards children or women.

It is alleged the abuse took place four times at his home in south west London or a nearby garage.

The court heard the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, went to police after the Jimmy Savile scandal in 2012.

Father-of-five Mr Herman denies three counts of indecent assault on a girl under 13 and one count of indecency with a child between January 1972 and January 1974.

The trial continues.

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