Kent

Andrew Griggs murder trial: Teen girl 'groomed' by murder suspect

Andrew Griggs Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Andrew Griggs is accused of murdering his wife Debbie Griggs 20 years ago

A woman told a court she was sexually abused aged 14 by a man accused of murdering his wife 20 years ago.

Andrew Griggs, 57, is alleged to have killed Debbie Griggs and disposed of her body in May 1999, shortly after she confronted the girl with suspicions about her husband's actions.

The girl, now in her mid-30s, told Canterbury Crown Court she had been "groomed" by Mr Griggs.

Mr Griggs, of St Leonards, Dorset, denies murder.

No trace of mother-of-three Mrs Griggs has been found since she disappeared from the family home in Deal, Kent, aged 34, on 5 May 1999.

Image caption Debbie Griggs has not been since May 1999

The woman told jurors Mrs Griggs had "asked if there was any sort of sexual relationship going on between me and her husband".

"It wasn't too long before she went missing," she told a jury.

When asked by police in 1999 she denied having a "sexual relationship" with Mr Griggs.

She said: "I was scared of him...everyone hating me."

In 2002, after an explicit letter was found, she told police they had begun a "sexual relationship" in 1998, when she was 14.

'He is a paedophile'

Nic Lobbenberg QC, defending, said the letter appeared to be the writings of an "infatuated girl to her lover".

She responded: "I would say it was a child who had been groomed and was confused."

Mr Lobbenberg said the contents of the letter appeared not to be the thoughts of "someone who is being forced to have sex".

The woman responded: "I asked him to stop. I told him no. I was 14. He is a paedophile."

She told the court that when interviewed about Mrs Griggs' disappearance by police in 2002, she hoped it was not as a result of her telling Mr Griggs she no longer wanted to see him.

"I was worried she had gone missing because of that," she said.

The trial continues.

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