Northern Ireland

Dana's brother John Brown put through 'hell' over child abuse claims

John Brown
Image caption John Brown arrives at Harrow Crown Court

The brother of the Eurovision winner and former politician Dana Scallon has said he has been through "hell" after being accused of child sex abuse.

John Brown, 60, is on trial for five counts of indecent assault against two young girls in the 1970s.

One was aged under 16 at the time of the alleged attacks and the other aged under 13.

Testifying for the first time at his Harrow Crown Court trial, Mr Brown repeatedly denied abusing both girls.


He told the court he "could not even contemplate" the claims that he inappropriately touched the alleged victims, who are now aged 47 and 53.

He said he had gone through "three years of hell" since he was first made aware of their claims.

Friday was Mr Brown's first opportunity to answer the allegations that he abused the pair during the 1970s at addresses in Northern Ireland and England.

He became tearful during the morning court session and requested a break, but returned to be cross-examined on Friday afternoon.

The first alleged victim, now 47, claims she was inappropriately touched and sexually assaulted by Mr Brown on two occasions

The first assault allegedly took place when she stayed at an address in Wembley, north west London, when she was aged between five and seven years old.

'Not true'

She has claimed the second assault was during a trip to Torquay when she was aged eight or nine.

Mr Brown told the jury he had never been with the girl at the Wembley address and had never been to Torquay in the 1970s.

He said: "It is absolutely not true. I didn't abuse her."

When he was shown a picture of the girl on a visit to London in 1972, Mr Brown said he would have been studying in Londonderry at the time.

He said he had only visited the girl's family once in the 1970s, adding that he had gone with his wife Patricia and was never left alone with the alleged victim.

The second alleged victim claims she was touched by Mr Brown as she slept alongside her sisters on two occasions, when she was under the age of 16.

The first was at an address in Northern Ireland and again at her home in Romford, Essex.

Defamation case

Mr Brown claims the first victim and her family have made up the claims because of a dispute over a mutual business interest and also to support defamation claims against his sister Dana.

The former Eurovision winner is being sued by the alleged victim and her mother, after saying during a television interview that the claims about Mr Brown were "vile and malicious lies".

He alleges the second alleged victim was coerced into testifying by the first alleged victim and her family, to support their own evidence, and ultimately, to back-up their defamation claim.

When Mr Brown was asked why he thought the first alleged victim had brought her claims to police in 2012, he said: "I have no idea.

"It appears she was having some difficulties in her marriage. All I can tell you is I didn't abuse her."

Earlier in the trial, the court heard how the first alleged victim had spoken to a therapist in 2012 about the abuse.

Asked why she might have said that during the three separate therapy sessions, Mr Brown said: "I have no explanation, but what I will say is that was six months before they sued Dana."

'Legal dispute'

The defendant also denied there had been any cover-up among his or the victim's family about the alleged abuse.

He said: "I'm a father of two girls and a boy and I wouldn't have waited 30 seconds [to say something] if I thought someone was doing that."

Mr Brown reiterated that the first time the allegations were put to him was in 2008, during a legal dispute in the USA over the ownership of a shared business interest between himself and the first alleged victim's parents.

Earlier on Friday, when he was asked whether he had been alone with either of the two girls during the period the assaults were alleged to have taken place, he answered "no".

Asked whether he had abused either of the girls, he repeatedly answered "absolutely not".

The Torquay incident is alleged to have taken place while his sister Dana was performing in the summer season.

However, the accused told the jury: "I was never in Torquay during the 1970s and neither was Dana."

During the trial, witnesses have alleged that Dana knew about the alleged assaults for 10 years and helped to cover them up.

She is expected to give evidence at Harrow Crown Court on Monday.

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