Ex-policeman Jeffrey Lake goes on trial over child abuse

Two alleged child abuse victims of a retired policeman attempted suicide as they struggled to cope with their ordeals, a court has heard.

Jeffrey Lake, 78, is on trial at Preston Crown Court over 20 counts of historical child abuse, including rape.

The court heard he subjected the pair to "quite appalling abuse" while he was an officer in Accrington, Lancashire, and Liverpool, between 1960 and 1974.

Mr Lake was extradited from Australia, where he had emigrated, in March.

'Repeatedly raped'

As well as rape, the former sergeant is also accused of indecency with a child, indecent assault and child cruelty.

One of his alleged victims told Lancashire Police in December 2009 he had raped her repeatedly as a child.

When the investigation widened, a second person claimed he too had been abused by the defendant, Preston Crown Court was told.

Mr Lake was arrested by police in Australia on suspicion of the sexual and physical abuse of children in January.

Prosecutor Louise Whaites told the court the first alleged victim went on to suffer from depression and anxiety and had attempted suicide, as had the alleged male victim in the case.

She said: "She was clearly unable to cope with what happened to her."

Miss Whaites told the court the victim wrote letters to the defendant telling him how she felt about what he had allegedly done to her, but he never replied.

"It is the Crown's case that both [the alleged victims] were subjected to quite appalling abuse, which over many years they have found very difficult to come to terms with," Miss Whaites said.

Mr Lake, who has also lived in Oldham and Maghull, retired in 1990 and emigrated to Australia in 2002.

He denies all the alleged offences.

The trial continues.

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