Famous Alpheton harpist convicted on historical sexual assault charges

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court

A world-renowned harp player from Alpheton has been warned she faces a prison sentence, after being convicted of sexually assaulting a schoolboy more than three decades ago.

Danielle Perrett, 59, of Bridge Street, had denied six charges of indecent assault against a boy under the age of 16.

But this week, she was found guilty of all offences, which took place in Suffolk and London between 1983 and 1985, by a majority verdict, following a day of deliberations by a jury.

After the verdicts had been returned, Judge Rupert Overbury told Perrett that she was facing a jail sentence.

During the four-week trial at Ipswich Crown Court, the jury heard claims by Perrett that it was not the boy who was the victim, but herself.

Perrett alleged the teenager had sexually assaulted her while she was taking a shower at her London flat.

She and her fellow defendant Richard Barton-Wood, who received the same warning, are due to be sentenced at a hearing on the week beginning Monday, February 26.

Both were told they will continue to be granted bail, but must surrender their passports.

The case centred on allegations made by the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, that he was sexually assaulted by Perrett more than 30 years ago when he was in his early teens.

The victim told the court he had been introduced to Perrett by Richard Barton-Wood, 68, who had been a substitute teacher at his school.

Giving evidence, the victim said he had been taken to a harp recital where Perrett was performing, and afterwards, all three went back to Perrett’s flat.

The boy said as he tried to get to sleep Perrett came into the room, undressed and got into bed with him where she had sex with him.

Later, it was alleged that Barton-Wood, of Church Street, Wymondham, had come into the room and indecently assaulted him.

The court heard claims that Perrett had further sexual activity with the boy on a number of occasions and that Barton-Wood had sexually abused him on sailing and camping trips.

Barton-Wood was found guilty of seven counts of indecent assault and one charge of attemped indecent assault between 1982 and 1985.

Following the verdict, a spokesperson for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said: “Barton-Wood abused his position of trust as a teacher in the most horrendous way and, along with Perrett, subjected an innocent boy to a sustained campaign of abuse.

“Their victim has suffered the effects of these crimes for many years and has also been forced to endure a lengthy trial because his abusers showed no remorse and maintained their innocence.

“But he showed tremendous courage to come forward and this case shows that all survivors of sexual abuse will be listened to and supported no matter how much time has passed since the crimes took place.

“Adult victims of non-recent abuse can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 for help and advice

“Children who need support can call Childline on 0800 1111.”