A convicted murderer has gone on trial accused of rapes and sexual assaults of two schoolgirls.
William ‘Billy’ Dunlop is accused of attacking the girls separately in Billingham several decades ago.
Dunlop, 54, is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Julie Hogg.
A jury was told an allegation was made in the early 2000s, but the case did not progress until recent years.
A jury at Teesside Crown Court heard one of his alleged victims wrote to Lincolnshire County Council last year seeking to be rehoused.
In the letter, she said she knew Dunlop was in prison for the murder of Julie Hogg, but feared for her safety should he be released.
“I just wanted to get as far away from him as possible,” said the woman.
“I didn’t want him anywhere near me.”
Quoting from the letter, Richard Wright QC, defending Dunlop, said the woman claimed she was eight when she was raped.
Mr Wright said the woman had previously told police she was 11, although other evidence in the case suggested she may have been 15 or 16 years old.
The woman admitted she had put the incorrect age in the letter, but insisted she was ‘11 going on 12’, because she clearly remembered having just started senior school when the alleged offences took place.
“I was a schoolgirl in school uniform,” she said.
Prosecutor Christine Egerton said the sexual assault allegations came to light in the early 2000s.
“Police did make some inquiries back then,” she added. “But they did not take the matter any further.
“But more recently, with fresh eyes, the police have considered the case again, and more inquiries have more recently been conducted.
“And as a result, the defendant was interviewed very recently.
“He denies that he behaved in that way.”
Dunlop, formerly of Billingham, denies three offences of rape, and he denies two offences of indecent assault.
The case continues and is expected to run until next week.