Former Devon County Council leader Brian Greenslade says grope allegations are 'absolute nonsense.'

Thursday 20th May 2021 8:26 am
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A FORMER leader of Devon County Council has denied sexually assaulting three women in separate incidents in the 1990s and 2000s.

Brian Greenslade said he had never touched any of the women inappropriately and that he could not even recall the alleged incidents.

He described one of the allegations as absolute nonsense and said he was shocked to be arrested.

He told a jury at Exeter Crown Court that he ended a 36-year career in local government when he chose not to stand for re-election to Devon County Council last month.

He was leader of the county council from 1993 to 2003 and chairman of the Devon and Cornwall police authority until it was replaced by the new Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012.

Mr Greenslade, aged 72, of Marwood, near Barnstaple, denies two counts of indecently assault and one of sexual assault.

The three complainants have told the jury they were shocked by him touching them sexually.

One said Mr Greenslade put his hand down her trousers when they were alone together at a site visit in Cullompton in 1995.

The second woman said he brushed his hand across one of her breasts after putting his arm around her while she was using a photocopier at a business in Barnstaple at around the same time.

The third woman said Mr Greenslade groped her breast at an official reception at County Hall in Exeter in 2005.

Mr Greenslade said he has been married to his wife Margaret, a retired teacher, for 46 years and they have two grown-up children.

He said he had worked as an accountant in North Devon and begun his political career when elected to the county council for the Liberal Democrats in Barnstaple North in 1985.

He denied touching the first woman and said he could not remember attending the site visit which she described.

He said: ‘I did not assault her. I don’t remember going to the site. I have no recollection of any sexual activity with her, and I would have thought I would.’

Mr Greenslade said he met the woman through his political work regularly in the years after the alleged assault and she had never mentioned anything about it or shown any reluctance to be with him.

He said they had even attended a royal visit to Stover Country Park, near Newton Abbot, together.

He denied any sexual contact with either of the second complainant. He said he knew her through his work as an accountant but could not recall being alone with her when working late.

He said: ‘I did not assault her. I don’t recall any such occurrence. I never got close to her deliberately or made her feel uncomfortable. I was not a space invader.

‘I don’t think I ever leered at her. I never looked at her with any sexual intent. I did not find her especially attractive.”

He said he could not recall meeting the third complainant at the County Hall reception but said he would not have put his hand on her breast.

He said he would not normally put his arm around a guest and would only have done so at the behest of a photographer who was posing up a group shot and wanted them to get closer to each other.

He said: ‘I never touched her breast. I had very little knowledge of her until we were introduced. It was the first time I has set eyes on her.

‘The official photographer saw us talking and took some photographs. The photograph shows quite clearly I was not touching her breast.

‘The suggestion is absolutely nonsense. It was an event with 100 people and I was the leader of the council at the time. It does not bear any credibility. I think she was put up to make the complaint.”

The trial continues today.

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