Village man not guilty of sex abuse charges

Ben Doe after the verdicts.
Ben Doe after the verdicts.

A Pulborough resident who denied abusing young girls in a case going back to the 1970s, was found unanimously not guilty this week.

Ben Doe, 65, of Stane Street Close, had pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape, three of attempted rape, six of indecent assault, and three of indecency with a child.

Prosecutor Dianne Chan had told a jury at Chichester Crown Court that the allegations were only reported to police relatively recently, following a conversation between two of the alleged victims.

Paul Dunkels QC, representing Mr Doe, had asked the jury members to give careful consideration the fact that the alleged victims had taken many years to come forward.

“We invite you to think how a sexually abused child would think.”

He said that ‘basic human instinct’ would play a part, although he acknowledged: “There’s no typical reaction or behaviour on the part of a victim of sexual abuse.”

“Emotion on your part, understandable though it may be, has no part in your assessment of the evidence.”

After the case, Mr Doe’s daughter-in-law Rebecca said: “This has been a major part of our lives for the last two and a half years - it’s been horrendous.

“My father-in-law was cleared of 15 accusations of indecent assault, rape, attempted rape - he’s got the outcome that we knew he would get.

“He’s proved his innocence and I don’t care what people think. Nobody can express the upset, the grief, the heartache that it’s caused.”