A WOMAN has accused a business owner of sexually assaulting her after telling her to wear her school uniform for a visit to a farm while she was a teenager.

Mark Hebdon is facing allegations from three different females that he sexually assaulted them over a 15-year-period while he was the owner of a petting zoo at Monk Park Farm, near Thirsk.

The third complainant told police officers in July 2022 how the 54-year-old had groped her all over her body when he asked her to sit on his knee.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the alleged incident happened in 2012 and a police investigation at the time resulted in the defendant not facing any charges.

Read more: Woman denies making up allegations she was sexually abused as a teenager

However, the alleged victim was reinterviewed by officers from North Yorkshire Police when another teenage girl made a complaint that he had forced her to carry out a number of sex acts on him between November 2018 and November 2019.

The Northern Echo: Mark Hebdon, pictured in 2009, at Monk Park Farm petting visitor centre, near ThirskMark Hebdon, pictured in 2009, at Monk Park Farm petting visitor centre, near Thirsk

Jurors heard how the complainant said Hebdon fondled her breasts and bum in her second police interview.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “He made me sit on his knee so I was facing away from him and he was feeling me everywhere – up my top, on my bum and under my trousers. It was just all over.

“When I think about it now, I was just frozen; sat there. Then was just kissing my neck and stuff like that.”

She told jurors how Hebdon had told her how he had a dream about her and asked her to come to the farm wearing her school uniform.

Explaining why she hadn’t mentioned the details of the sexual assault in her police interview in 2012, she said it was because she didn’t feel comfortable talking about it as she was ‘only 12’ and her mother was there.

Another complainant told the court how Hedbon had carried out sex acts on her before she managed to flee the farm when her mother turned up to pick her up.

She alleged that the assaults took place more than 15 years ago when she was a child.

Jurors had heard how the complainant who claims she was forced to carry out sex acts on the defendant three-four years ago said Hebdon had urged her to throw away her mobile phone if she was approached by the police after he had lost his in a pond at the farm when he was trying to rescue a duck.

Hebdon, of John Street, Great Ayton, near Stokesley, denies nine charges, including sexual activity with a child and sexual touching of a child.

The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, continues.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated North Yorkshire Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054