Jury retires in case of Hartlepool men accused of child sex offences.

The trial jury has retired to consider its verdict.
The trial jury has retired to consider its verdict.

A jury has retired to consider its verdicts in the case of five men accused of child sex offences.

Robert Black, Peter Watts, Alan Edmenson, Geoff Hillier, and Joseph Brown face 17 indecent assault allegations from three victims.

The offences are alleged to have taken place in the 1970s and 80s, either in the Burn Valley Gardens public toilets in Hartlepool, or elsewhere in the town.

Each of the men has admitted they took part in homosexual activity around that time, but only with adult males.

Part way through the trial at Teesside Crown Court, Black admitted two charges against one of his victims.

He continues to deny three charges against his other alleged victim.

Black said his memory of that time is not good, and if his first victim said he was 14 or 15-years-old at the time, he was prepared to accept that.

The four other men deny all the allegations against them.

Watts, 72, of Oxford Road, Hartlepool, denies five charges of indecent assault.

Brown, 81, of Front Street, Hart, denies one charge of indecent assault.

Black, 71, of Derwent Grange, Hartlepool, admits two charges of indecent assault.

He denies two charges of indecent assault, and he denies a serious sexual offence,

Hillier, 72, of Haswell Avenue, Hartlepool, denies two charges of indecent assault, and two serious sexual offences.

Edmenson, 66, of Ibrox Grove, Hartlepool, denies one charge of indecent assault.

The jury retired to consider its verdicts shortly before lunch.

Proceeding.