Woman denies historic sexual activity with youth

ON TRIAL: Susan Cunningham outside Teesside Crown Court.

ON TRIAL: Susan Cunningham outside Teesside Crown Court.

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy News Editor

A WOMAN has gone on trial accused of having sex with a young boy.

Susan Cunningham denies sexual activity with a child and 12 charges of indecent assault.

The alleged abuse is said to have occurred in Darlington over two years.

The jury in the trial at Teesside Crown Court was played a recorded police interview in which the alleged victim - now an adult - said he was told not to tell anyone what happened.

He said he was invited to play computer games with Ms Cunningham, now aged 40, of Dovecote Street, Stockton, and would “play fight” with her.

Asked to describe the first time they had sex, he said she started kissing and touching him and then sat on top of him.

When he asked what she was doing, she told him to “sssh” and be quiet, he said.

He also said she would buy him trainers, CDs and computer games.

Rod Hunt, defending, said the complainant had a number of previous convictions which he had admitted, including robbery and assault, details of which were outlined to the jury.

Mr Hunt said he had been a violent teenager and alleged that it was he who forced himself onto Ms Cunningham, in effect raping her.

Cross-examining the alleged victim, who appeared via a video-link, he said: “She was smaller and weaker than you and you were violent.” This was denied.

Mr Hunt claimed he had “just thought” of the allegations recently and also queried why he had not taken an earlier opportunity to tell someone what was happening.

He said: “I did not feel I could speak to [people] properly. Plus I was only young still.”

The alleged victim also denied ever placing Ms Cunningham in a headlock, causing her to pass out, or punching her in the head, leaving her with cuts and bruises.

The court heard how the defendant went voluntarily to police to make a statement after the allegations were made against her. She described herself as an alcoholic and drug addict during the period in question.

Questioned about this, the alleged victim said she had been "stone cold sober" whenever they had sex.

Later, his mother, who gave evidence for the prosecution, described the defendant as a “bully” and “always in control”.

The trial continues.

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