A FAMILY friend built up the trust of a 13-year-old girl before repeatedly sexually abusing her, a court has heard.

Samuel Redhead, 34, denies a string of allegations involving a woman who at the time was a ‘socially awkward’ schoolgirl that struggled for friends.

At Chester’s new ‘Nightingale court’ in the town hall on Monday, the jury was shown the complainant’s video interview with police from 2018, eight years after the alleged grooming began.

The woman said: “I did not have friends at this point – I was being bullied, being picked on – then suddenly these people were my friends.”

The court heard how the first incident unfolded when the 13-year-old wanted to leave a party in Northwich in 2010.

It is claimed that Redhead was also in Northwich, so the girl texted him asking to pick her up and take her home, but on the way back he parked up at a secluded spot and kissed her.

The following day, she asked if Redhead could give her a lift to the shop to buy some chewing gum before she went on a family trip to Chester.

She said: “We were driving back down Winsford High Street. I was wearing the stupid same skirt I wore the night before. Sam put his hand on my leg and then up my skirt.”

The court heard how the teenager, who had a difficult relationship with her family at home, would frequently stay over at Redhead’s house in Wharton – often sleeping on the couch.

She claims there were a series of incidents from that point of non-consensual kissing, touching and penetration by Redhead.

She also told officers that Redhead had sex with her in his car when he had taken her to the One Stop shop – parking nearby and pulling her on top of him on the driver’s seat.

It is alleged that on one evening, Redhead returned home from a night of drinking with his friends, waking the teenager up on the sofa by touching her thighs before pulling her onto the floor and penetrating her using a wine bottle.

“I was really freaked out,” she told police.

Winsford Guardian:

The new Nightingale court in Chester, before it opened earlier this month

“He said to me, ‘imagine how much worse it would be if it was a broken bottle’ and I started crying.”

Redhead, now of Cavendish Terrace, Ripon, pleads not guilty to 13 charges relating to incidents from when the complainant was between 13 and 16 years old.

These include four counts of rape, three counts of sexual assault and three counts of assault by penetration.

There are also three counts of causing the girl to engage in sexual acts without her consent – including two which involved two of Redhead’s friends.

They were allegedly drinking and taking drugs at the house one evening, when Redhead tried to get the girl to masturbate them, but the pair were unable to get an erection.

Those men – Kenneth Dyson, 30, of Dingle Lane, Winsford, and David Sydenham, 34, of Redbrook Grove, Wilmslow – also deny the charges they face.

The court heard how the complainant went on to suffer with anxiety and agoraphobia.

She claims a final incident took place when Redhead kissed her after offering to help tidy up at a house party with her friends.

There, she ended up on her friend’s bed, before Redhead stopped having sex with her as he ‘had too much respect’ for her friend.

On a later occasion, the claimant says she was able to fight off Redhead’s advances in a hotel room where his partner and children were also sleeping, following a family wedding in Harrogate.

Prosecuting, Nicholas Williams told the court that the defendant saw the teenager as ‘nothing more than a sexual object’.

“The two families became quite good friends,” he said.

“She started to spend a lot of time with Mr Redhead and his family. Mr Redhead took advantage of this situation to gain her trust, grooming her before he went on to sexually exploit and abuse her.

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“Mr Redhead says she was a regular visitor to his house but denies there was ever any sexual activity.

“He says, as do the other two, that these allegations are fabricated – that she has made them all up.”

The trial continues.