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  1. ITV Report

World-renowned harpist from Suffolk appears alongside ex-partner accused of historic sex abuse

A world-renowned harpist from Suffolk who has played for the Queen and several prime ministers is on trial along with her former partner accused of sexually abusing a schoolboy.

Danielle Perrett, 59, has given harp performances at royal palaces in the UK as well as at the Palace of Versailles in France.

Danielle Perrett is a world renowned harpist. Credit: PA.

She has also performed to senior members of the royal family including the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on numerous occasions.

She is on trial at Ipswich Crown Court, alongside her former partner Richard Barton-Wood, 68, from Norfolk, where they are charged with a string of sex offences, all of which they deny.

The charges relate to the 1980s and involve a single alleged male victim, who was in his early teens at the time.

Perrett, of Bridge Street, Alpheton, Suffolk, denies eight counts of indecently assaulting a boy.

Barton-Wood, of Church Street, Wymondham, Norfolk, denies six counts of indecently assaulting a boy, one count of attempting to indecently assault a boy and one count of attempting to commit the act of buggery.

Richard Barton-Wood was in a relationship with Perrett at the time. Credit: PA.

William Carter, prosecuting, said Barton-Wood first met the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, while working as a substitute teacher and the boy was a pupil. Mr Carter said Perrett was in a relationship with Barton-Wood at the time, and it was through him that she met the boy.

Barton-Wood invited the boy to come sailing with him, and the boy recalled waking on a boat to find he was being sexually abused by Barton-Wood, the court heard.

The boy said this happened on several occasions and that he was also abused by Barton-Wood on camping trips, Mr Carter said.

The court heard that on a separate occasion Barton-Wood took the boy to a flat with Perrett, and the boy awoke as Perrett undressed and got into bed with him.

Perrett "cuddled up" to the boy, had sex with him and then Barton-Wood joined them in bed and indecently assaulted the boy, Mr Carter said.

(The boy) describes her as kind and gentle... young as he was, it seems he fell in love with her.

He was obviously too young to consent to what was happening and Perrett should have recognised that. It amounts to sexual abuse of that young boy.

– William Carter, Prosecutor.

Mr Carter said that years later, as an adult, the alleged victim tracked down and confronted the two defendants.

The alleged victim emailed Barton-Wood, and Barton-Wood said he felt the email was "in some way threatening", the court heard.

"He said he felt he was being blackmailed," Mr Carter said.

"He said there were subsequent phone conversations in which he said he wanted money."

Perrett described the alleged victim as "devious, scheming and dishonest", Mr Carter said.

Mr Carter said: "What's going to be fundamental to this case is did any of this happen at all or is it a complete fabrication."

The trial, estimated to last around two weeks, continues.