Alleged victim of Hartlepool darts player Tony Eccles says Jimmy Savile stories ‘were trigger’ to go to police

Tony Eccles outside Teesside Crown Court
Tony Eccles outside Teesside Crown Court

THE alleged victim of darts star Tony Eccles said that national newspaper stories about Jimmy Savile abusing girls was one of the triggers which prompted her to approach the police.

But the woman – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – was branded a liar in court by the defendant’s barrister during his trial at Teesside Crown Court.

The woman claims 44-year-old Eccles repeatedly raped and indecently assaulted her when she was a schoolgirl, including once having sex with her in bushes and also abusing her with one of his partner’s sex toys.

She told police: “When all this Jimmy Savile stuff came out I was watching it’.

“I thought, ‘why aren’t I allowed justice’ and ‘I’m ready now’.”

But, Jim Withyman, defending, suggested that the alleged victim was lying and that she would not have had time to see that much of Eccles because of his commitments to his sport.

He said: “Tony was teetotal and he trained hard and spent a lot of time going to tournaments all over the country.

“The impression you have given to the court is that he was obsessed with you.”

Mr Withyman also said it was untrue that Eccles would contact the then school pupil to get her to tell her teachers that she felt ill so she could get out of school to have sex with him.

He said the darts player did not then have a mobile telephone and did not have a car.

The barrister also suggested that the woman was lying about being “showered” in gifts by the defendant, as “he wasn’t earning that much money playing darts”.

The woman, speaking from the witness box, replied: “He did have a phone and he did have a car.

“He’s going to say he didn’t have them so it makes him look innocent.”

She added: “I wouldn’t know what his income was, I was just a kid.

“But he would get me copy CDs and sometimes he’d buy me fags himself because I was too young to get served.”

Mr Withyman put it to the woman that she was making up lies, to which she said: “I’m here for my justice, I’m not here to accuse someone of doing something, I’m here to tell the truth.

“He knows what he’s done to me.”

She also said: “Tony was obsessed with me and Tony tortured me. I could never forgive what he’s done to me.”

Eccles, of Northgate, the Headland, Hartlepool, denies five counts of rape and five of indecent assault.

Nicknamed The Viper, Eccles, has won 13 tournaments in his 14-year darts career.

He has played with the game’s best and was given a fourth seed at The Lakeside in 2007 and 20th in the PDC World Championships in 2009.

The trial continues.