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Horror fan denies groping schoolgirl

A COLLECTOR of horror movie memorabilia from Newton Abbot has denied kissing and groping a 15-year-old girl after inviting her to his home to play computer games.

Daniel Kelly told a jury at Exeter Crown Court that he exchanged ‘inappropriate’ Facebook messages with the schoolgirl before the alleged incident but said he had not touched her sexually.

He said the messages were intended to be joking and he sent them because he thought he was messing around with a friend.

Kelly said he invited the girl to his home in Newton Abbot because she was having trouble with her parents and he wanted to support her.

He said she went upstairs after becoming upset and he found her sitting on his bed, where he comforted her but did not touch her sexually. He said his only contact was a hand on her shoulder.

He denied ever trying to kiss her and said she ended up spending the night in a spare room with her friend.

Designer and ex-Jewson worker Kelly, aged 40, formerly of Jetty Marsh Road, Newton Abbot, but now of Torquay, denies two counts of sexual assault.

The girl has told the court how he assaulted her on two different visits to his house in 2011, kissing her on the lips and touching her bottom on the first occasion, when he showed her his collection of horror memorabilia.

She said he got into bed with her when she went back with a male school friend two days later and touched her breast before putting her hand on his groin.

She did not report the incident at the time but went to the police in 2018 after telling doctors about the abuse when they were treating her after a suicide attempt.

Kelly said the girl had only visited once, when she had planned to sleep over with her school friend. He denied any inappropriate touching and said he had not given her alcohol.

He told the jury she only drank a bottle of alcopop which she brought with her and was not drunk or staggering around.

Kelly said he was quite immature at the time and spent a lot of his spare time playing online games such as Call of Duty.

The girl was also interested in gaming and agreed to go to his home with her friend to join in the games.

He said he now accepts the Facebook messages he sent in the two months before the visit were inappropriate, but they were not intended to be sexual.

He said: ‘It was light hearted joking. I was trying to have a laugh.

‘It was not meant to be offensive other than in a joking sense, not in a shocking sense. She took it as a joke and reciprocated.’

Kelly said the girl only visited his home once and he may have shown him his movie memorabilia, which consisted of models from horror films. He denied any form of sexual assault.

He said: ‘I did not abuse her, either by kissing her, touching her bottom or groping her breast.

‘I was well aware she had problems and I tried to make things better for her and tell her things would get better.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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