Butler-Sloss testifies in child abuse case

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image captionBaroness Butler-Sloss gave evidence on behalf of a man on trial for child abuse

A retired High Court Judge has given evidence on behalf of a man who is on trial for raping a 13-year-old girl.

Baroness Butler-Sloss told Exeter Crown Court she had 34 years experience of dealing with child abuse cases.

She gave character evidence on behalf of Philip Chard, 44, on trial for rape and sexual abuse of the girl.

The baroness was appointed in July 2014 to lead an inquiry into allegations of historical child abuse but stood down before the inquiry started.

'Astonished'

Lady Butler-Sloss, who is a working peer in the House of Lords, said Mr Chard's mother, Valerie, had been her cleaning lady at her home in East Devon for 20 years.

She said she knew Chard because he often took his mother to her home to work and sometimes stayed there for a couple of hours.

She said: "I had no concerns about Mr Chard. I was astonished by these allegations. I think he is a much less probable offender than many I have come across."

Former doorman Chard, of Dawlish Park Terrace, Lympstone, denies rape and five counts of sexual activity with a child.

The girl has told Exeter Crown Court how Chard crept into her bedroom when she was staying overnight at his home.

Chard told the jury nothing sexual happened during the night or on a number of previous occasions.

The trial continues.

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