A WITNESS has described being "always frightened" by a father-of-two accused of historical sex abuse dating back to the 1970s.

Raymond Anthony Tunstall Jr, 59, stands trial accused of eight counts of serious sexual offences, including attempted rape, indecent assault and indecency with a child over a three-year period four decades ago.

The Darlington man denies any inappropriate sexual activity took place at that time, when he would have been a teenager. He is expected to give evidence in the trial today.

A woman who claims to have been abused by Mr Tunstall in the '70s took to the witness stand at Teesside Crown Court yesterday to give her evidence.

She told jurors she came to trust Mr Tunstall as a young girl, stating: "He used to change and in my mind, I thought he was going to look after me."

She reiterated that the abuse took place in various locations in Darlington, including South Park, and in a secret woodland den in nearby Croft, where he would use the promise of sweets or games to commit sex acts.

However, Mr Tunstall's barrister, Rob Lancaster, put it to the woman that his client would only ever visit these places with a particular group of friends and none of the sex attacks ever took place.

It was also revealed that despite the alleged abuse, former gas fitter Mr Tunstall remained a part of the complainant's adult life and carried out odd jobs around her home.

The court heard Mr Tunstall was first confronted with the allegations in 2017, to which he denies replying: "We were just kids, we were just experimenting."

The woman said: "I have no reason to make it up. I've had many sleepless nights and flashbacks when I'm lying awake in bed.

"It all definitely happened and that's what has made my life the way it is. It's like having a very dark, horrible secret to keep."

She added: "I've had counselling over the years, but I've never told anyone because I thought no-one would believe me. I felt dirty."

Another woman, who claims that Mr Tunstall exposed himself to her on several occasions in the 1970s when she was a child, also kept in contact with him as an adult.

Paul Abrahams, prosecuting, asked the witness about her relationship in the 1970s with the Darlington man.

She said: "I was always frightened of him. He would always try to get me when he thought I was alone."

She added that his attempts to have sex with her as a young girl only stopped when she told a then teenaged Mr Tunstall that she had started her period.

The witness added she had never seen anything inappropriate take place between Mr Tunstall and the complainant.

The trial continues.