A JEHOVAH’S Witness told a young girl that he was giving her a “special cuddle” as he abused her, a court has heard.

David Burridge – also known by his middle name of Martin – is accused of indecently assaulting the youngster on multiple occasions from 1975 to 1983 in Bournemouth, as well as a single indecent assault against a male child sometime between 1999 and 2001.

The 62-year-old, of Station Road in Alderholt, near Fordingbridge, denies the charges against him.

Matthew Farmer, prosecuting the case at Bournemouth Crown Court, told jurors on the first day of the trial against Burridge that the alleged victim had only realised what was happening when she was taught sexual education at her school.

He said: “The complainant had quite a troubled life after [the alleged abuse] in terms of her mental health.

“Not that long ago, in 2012, she took an overdose and [afterwards] finally told her family what had happened.”

Mr Farmer said the alleged sexual offence against the male complainant took place almost two decades later on one occasion.

“[The alleged victim] remembers feeling imprisoned,” he said.

A videoed police interview with the woman was also shown to jurors.

In it, she said: “He always used to give me special cuddles.”

She added: “I didn’t know at the time that there was anything wrong with why he was cuddling me. It wasn’t until I was a lot older that I realised it was all very, very wrong – I was doing sex ed at school.”

She said the defendant told her that he “fell in love” with her, adding: “I thought it was quite nice at the time.”

Burridge denies five counts of indecent assault and one of indecent assault on a male.

The trial continues.