Brothers deny sex charges

THREE brothers have gone on trial accused of a catalogue of serious sex offences.

Keith Whittingham, 56, John Whittingham, 58, and Alan Whittingham, 53, are alleged to have abused a woman when she was a young girl.

Keith Whittingham, of Garside Drive, Hartlepool, is charged with four counts of rape, four indecent assaults and one allegation of indecency with a child.

Outlining the case for the prosecution, Shaun Dodds said the woman told police that on one occasion Keith Whittingham raped her after showing her a pornographic magazine.

John Whittingham, of Clarkson Street, Hartlepool, stands accused of three counts of indecent assault.

Alan Whittingham, of Carlton Street, Hartlepool, is charged with four counts of rape.

Mr Dodds said of the alleged abuse: “The complainant said she knew it was not right.”

The alleged victim claims Keith and John told her not to say anything to anyone.

The offences are said to have taken place when she was a child, but it was not until she was an adult that she reported her claims to police.

All three brothers were arrested and denied all of the allegations from the start.

Judge Howard Crowson told the jury not to let their emotions affect their handling of the case.

Mr Dodds added: “I invite you to listen to the evidence and ask whether you can be sure what she says is the truth.

“If you are sure, you convict, if you are anything less than sure, you acquit.”

The trial is expected to last up to seven days.

All three defendants deny all of the charges against them.