Charity boss 'pinned boy to bed and raped him', court hears

A file photo of Birmingham Crown Court.

A former charity boss pinned a young Kenyan boy down on a bed and raped him before threatening to kill the child if he spoke of the ordeal, a jury in England has heard.

Simon Harris, of Pudlestone, near Leominster in Herefordshire, England, also beat the boy with a stick after being angered by the then nine-year-old’s toilet habits, jurors were told.

Harris denies 22 charges of sexual abuse against boys as young as seven in Kenya where he ran charity VAE, which placed gap-year students into local teaching posts.

On trial at Birmingham Crown Court, Harris is also facing five charges of possessing indecent images of children.

Today, the first of his alleged victims addressed the court through an interpreter and speaking Kiswahili over a live satellite link from 6,500 miles away.

The slight boy, wearing a striped T-shirt, was asked by prosecuting QC Kevin Hegarty if he knew Harris and the youngster said he did.

He told the court he had been seven times to the 55-year-old’s home, known by locals in the nearby town of Gilgil as the Green House.

On the last occasion – New Year’s Day last year – he described Harris “doing bad manners” to him on the man’s bed.

“He told me to sleep on the bed – on my tummy,” said the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

“He took a condom from the pillow and then he wore it,” he added.

The youngster described how Harris had removed his white vest and purple shorts by that point, subjecting the boy to an ordeal he thought had lasted 10 minutes and left him in pain.

“He had placed his legs on my legs,” added the child.

“He was moving up and down. I could feel pain.”

Mr Hegarty asked what happened when Harris stopped.

“He told me if I told anyone he would kill me. He would beat me and kill me,” replied the boy.

Asked if he believed former public school house master Harris would have carried out the threat, the boy said he did, explaining that on a previous occasion “he had beaten me with a stick”.

The youngster told the jury he would be picked up from Gilgil by Harris in his car and driven out to the man’s property to do work like “cleaning, and taking out the garbage”, and he said there were other young boys there whenever he went.

After the final visit, when the prosecution say he was raped, the boy said Harris “put me in the car, took me back to town and told me we would never be friends again”.

Asked if he had seen Harris since, the boy replied: “No.”

The boy said he only told his aunt what had happened but months later, after British police had been alerted, he spoke with UK officers and told them his story.

Jeremy Dean QC, defence counsel, cross-examined the boy, asking: “Were you paid any money or given any new clothes? Were you given or offered a new bike?”

The boy, through his interpreter, replied “no” to both questions.

Asked if he had talked about the case with other children, he said he had not.

Mr Dean asked the boy if he had changed his story about denying seeing Harris after the incident.

The defence counsel said the boy had told British police in July last year that he did meet Harris again and the older man had “brought you bread and told you, you would be friends again”.

The boy denied changing his story.

Yesterday, Mr Hegarty said it was the Crown’s case that Harris had preyed on 11 young Kenyan street children “because of his sexual interest in young boys”.

Harris, who has already admitted six counts of indecently assaulting three teenage boys at Shebbear College private school in Devon during the 1980s, denies all the charges against him and the trial continues.


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