Alleged victim breaks down in tears at trial of Hartlepool funeral director Gerald Martin charged with child sex offences

Gerald Martin

Gerald Martin

A middle-aged man broke down in tears as he told a court of the abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of a Hartlepool funeral director.

Gerald Martin is alleged to have taken the victim – then only a boy – from a youth group to a hall in Hartlepool.

The alleged victim told the hearing at Teesside Crown Court: “There was a big room with stuff in, like a gymnasium.

The court heard Martin, 66, allegedly pulled the boy’s trousers down and touched his private parts.

He then attempted to commit a serious sexual offence.

Choking back tears, the man said: “You’ve got me shaking now. I want to get out of here.”

The court heard the victim first met Martin after attending a youth organisation in the town – but could not remember which one.

After a break, Jamie Hill QC, defending, asked the man if he knew Martin’s name when the alleged abuse took place in the 1970s.

The man replied: “I knew him. I trusted him, which is why I went with him.”

Mr Hill said Martin was not involved in the youth group until the 1980s – much later than the man said they had met.

He said: “I can’t remember. There is no mistake, he sexually abused me and that’s that.”

Another of Martin’s alleged victims told the court he was introduced to gay sex by a different man before meeting Martin a few weeks later.

He said: “I went to the toilets in Ward Jackson Park. I had my first sexual encounter there with a man, not Gerald Martin.

“I’m not making any complaint. I went along with it.

“He told me that if I wanted more experiences I should go to the toilets at Burn Valley Gardens, which I did a couple of weeks later.”

The alleged victim - also a youth at the time - told the jury he had two sexual encounters with Martin.

He said: “I went to the toilets for a sexual experience but I wasn’t attracted to Martin because he was ugly,

“I was in a cubicle and saw Martin come in.

“He exposed himself so I shut the door. I couldn’t lock it because the block had been vanadalised.

“He forced his way into the cubicle.”

He told the court he was then forced into a sex act.

The alleged victim said he had a second encounter with Martin a couple of weeks later. He said: “It might sound stupid to go with him again. Mr Martin didn’t threaten me.

“On that occasion he took me to a flat in Hartlepool.

“What happened that time was horrible, although I accept I put myself there. I can’t remember if he gave me any money.”

Martin, of Valley Close, Hartlepool, denies seven charges of indecent assault, three charges of committing a serious sexual offence, three charges of attempting to commit a serious sexual offence, and one charge of false imprisonment.

The trial continues