Birmingham & Black Country

Actor Ben Fellows' Ken Clarke abuse claim 'a fantasy', court hears

Ben Fellows Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ben Fellows, 40, from the West Midlands, denies perverting the course of justice

An actor who claimed he was sexually assaulted by former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke has been described as "a fantasist" in court.

Ben Fellows, 40, told newspaper reporters the Conservative MP for Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire, assaulted him in 1994, the Old Bailey was told.

But subsequent checks found inaccuracies in his account, jurors heard.

Mr Fellows denies perverting the course of justice.

The former child actor, of Redstone Farm Road, Olton, Solihull, said the politician had plied him with alcohol and carried out the sexual assault in a lobbyist's office.

Mr Fellows claimed the attack had taken place while he was working on an undercover sting for ITV's Cook Report.

'Inventive and persuasive'

In the autumn of 2012, the court heard, he told national news reporters about the alleged assault.

He also said he had been abused by a number of people in the entertainment industry, including a senior female executive at the BBC.

Mr Fellows, who was described by prosecutors as "an inventive and sometimes persuasive fantasist", claimed he been invited to a cocaine-fuelled party on BBC premises hosted by two of its biggest stars at the time, the court heard.

He made a statement to police after being interviewed by officers as part of Operation Fairbank - the high-profile investigation into historic Westminster child sex abuse.

But officers concluded his version of events was false, prosecutor Duncan Atkinson said.

"The defendant said in a witness statement that...he had been sexually assaulted... by Kenneth Clarke," Mr Atkinson said.

Image copyright Conservative Party
Image caption Mr Fellows is accused of making false claims about Kenneth Clarke

"He named a number of persons as having been involved in the Cook Report investigation who he said were aware of the assault, which he said had been recorded by a covert video device with which he had been issued."

But members of the Cook Report team had said they were unaware of the allegation when interviewed by police, Mr Atkinson said.

They had not seen a video showing abuse and none of them recalled Mr Clarke even being in the lobbyist's office, he added.

In October 2012, Mr Fellows was interviewed by journalist Jack Malvern from the Times newspaper.

He gave Mr Malvern his account of the allegation against Mr Clarke and made a series of other allegations which the reporter had found "troubling" when he tried to check them out, the court heard.

He also found inaccuracies in Mr Fellows' claims about his time at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.

As a result of his checks, no story was published in the Times.

Meanwhile, Mr Fellows self-published an online article containing an account of his interview with Mr Malvern, alleging that the Times was seeking to protect those he had named.

Mr Fellows denies perverting the course of justice between November 14 2012 and December 1 2012.

The trial continues.

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