Northern Ireland

Dana brother John Brown crept into girl's bed

John Brown
Image caption John Brown denies five counts of indecent assault

The brother of singer Dana crept naked into the bedroom of a young girl and fondled her as she lay next to her sleeping sisters, a court has heard.

John Brown, 60, of Lilly Hill Road, in Bracknell, Berkshire, faces five counts of indecent assault against two girls.

The alleged offences happened in the 1970s.

It was also claimed Mr Brown touched the girl in similar circumstances in Northern Ireland in 1972/73 and at her Essex home some time before 1976.

The first incident is alleged to have taken place when the girl, then aged 12 or 13, was staying at what she described as a two-storey home in Northern Ireland.

The victim, now 53, told Harrow Crown Court: "I remember being quite uncomfortable around John. He would want to cuddle and touch you, which made me feel very uncomfortable. There was a few occasions when I woke up and John was touching me."

The court heard claims the girl went to sleep in a double bed with her sister and was later woken by the defendant, who had no clothes on.

She told the court: "I remember I woke up knowing John was there and feeling very uncomfortable, very scared. He was very close to me.

"I was lying on my back wearing nightclothes. I just remember needing to get away from him. He was very close, his face was very close to mine and I was really scared.

"I knew my sister was next to me and I had to get her awake so I was scratching and pinching her arm. I needed help. I was scared, I was desperate to get her to wake up."

The woman claimed Mr Brown said nothing during the incident and said she could not remember any details of the assault, but she believed he left when her sister woke.

She went on to claim that Mr Brown returned to the room a short time later and "the same situation was happening again".

Asked if she knew what he was doing, she said: "No. I just remember feeling exactly the same and I had to get my sister awake. I was scared, I just tried not to move.

"He was just too close to my face. I felt like I was suffocating in his face."

Mr Brown is then alleged to have left the room after the girl's sister woke up again.

Prosecutor Claire Howell asked about a second incident said to have taken place between 1973 and 1976 at her home in Essex when she was sharing a room with her two sisters when Mr Brown was visiting.

'I was petrified'

She claimed she woke to find that Brown's hands were inside her pyjamas while her siblings were in the room.

"I'm not sure how long after Ireland this was but I was definitely under 16," she said.

"His hands and his arms were under the covers, his hands were inside my clothes."

Asked what she did, the woman told the court: "Nothing. I was too frightened. I didn't know if my sisters were asleep or awake. I was petrified - I couldn't move."

Mr Brown left when a light came on in the hallway or bathroom but returned later, she said.

She told the court: "I tried to stay awake and I tucked the covers under me really tight. I wanted to make it difficult if anything happened again. But he was pulling the covers and loosening them.

"I just wanted him to go away. I was scared. I didn't really understand what it was all about. He had his hands on me again but not inside my underwear, mostly just on my legs."

The court heard how the woman had spoken to one of her sisters about what happened in the following years, but did not tell her wider family until she heard about the allegations of the first victim in about 2011/12.

The allegations arose during a family discussion in Essex, which the defence says was held to find someone to back up the first victim's claims.

A defence barrister, cross-examining the witness, said she must be mistaken about the location of the first alleged incident, as the home she had described was not built until 1976.

He also questioned the dates of her visit to Northern Ireland, saying that her parents must have been happy to take her to Londonderry at the height of the Troubles in 1972.

He said the person she said she had been staying with when the first incident happened had lived in a bungalow until 1975.

"You remember something that, as far as the details are concerned, you are entirely reliant on your sister. The detail of what you have been told comes from your sister.

"Before this incident he (Mr Brown) was barely a part of your life and he was rarely ever in Essex was he?"

The witness agreed.