A FORMER councillor has given his version of an incident that has led to him being accused of indecently touching a young girl.

Harry Devine, 54, told Durham Crown Court that he had a platonic friendship with the girl's mother and sometimes took her on outings.

Mr Devine told the court yesterday that during a trip to Scarborough when the girl was aged ten or 11, she fell in Peasholm Park lake. He said he gave her his fleece jacket to wear on the way back to County Durham in his car.

They arrived at his house, where she took off her still-wet clothing, which he placed on radiators.

Mr Devine said: "When I went back into the front room she had already removed her knickers and put them on the radiator.

"Then I said to her that her T-shirt was still damp and needed to be dried.

"She took the fleece off, then I stood behind her and she lifted up her arms, and we took the T-shirt off. I went straight over to put it on the radiator."

He said the girl then put on pyjamas, until her mother arrived that evening to collect her.

Mr Devine said the girl asked him not to tell her mother that she had fallen in the lake, but he said he would have to let her know.

The prosecution claimed that while removing her clothing Mr Devine sat her on his knee and indecently touched the girl.

Mr Devine, of Salter's Lane, Wingate, east Durham, an Independent member of Easington District Council until last month, denies indecent assault.

A jury failed to reach a verdict in the case after a trial at the court in March last year.

The trial continues.