The wife of an undertaker accused of sexually abusing five boys told a court she had no knowledge of her husband’s homosexuality.
In a statement read to the jury in the trial of Gerald Martin at Teesside Crown Court, Pauline Martin said: “I became engaged to Gerald in 1977, and we married on September 2, 1979.
“We chose not to have children, although we had a normal sexual relationship.
“He has always been loving and caring, I had no indication of any homosexual behaviour until the current police investigation started.”
The jury was told Mrs Martin had planned to give evidence in person, but is unable to do so because of illness.
Judge Simon Phillips QC said it had been agreed by the prosecution and defence to read Mrs Martin’s statement as her evidence, but the prosecution did not agree its contents because Mrs Martin could not be cross-examined.
One of the alleged victims claimed Gerald Martin picked him up from ‘a boys’ brigade or scout group’ which met in Hartlepool town centre.
The court heard that at the time of the alleged abuse, Martin was a captain in the 5th Hartlepool Boys’ Brigade which met at Rossmere School, outside the town centre.
Another alleged victim claimed Martin abused him in a storeroom at the top of the funeral parlour where he worked in Park Road.
Jamie Hill QC, defending, said that at the time the top two floors of the parlour were flats occupied by the Mountney family.
Mandy Jane Williamson (formerly Mountney) told the jury: “I lived there with my husband at the time and our twins.
“My parents lived in the floor below.
“We owned and were running the Oakroyd Hotel next door.
“The reason my parents lived with us was so they could look after the twins in the evening when we were at the hotel.”
Ms Williamson was shown a recently taken photograph of the room in which the alleged abuse took place.
“That would have been the twin’s bedroom,” she said. “It had bunk beds in it, book cases and the children had toys, hundreds of toys, probably too many.
“The flats were behind doors which locked, Mr Martin had no keys or access to them as far as I know.
“We were in the flat every night for that period, there was no chance of any holiday with the hotel to run.
“We might have had the occasional day out, but we had to be back to get up to do breakfast for the guests.”
Martin, 66, 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.