Man on trial for child sex abuse was traced to USA using Facebook

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Barry Willoughby outside court in Bradford Barry Willoughby outside court in Bradford

A man accused of sexually abusing two young girls in the 1980s has gone on trial after one of his alleged victims tracked him down to the United States using Facebook.

Barry Willoughby, 46, was eventually extradited back to this country after the complainant, from Bradford, had recognised his face in a photograph on the social networking site and reported her allegations to the police in 2010.

The jury at Bradford Crown Court heard that publicity surrounding Willoughby’s extradition resulted in a Halifax woman also coming forward to make further allegations of sexual abuse against him.

Willoughby, of Mandale Road, Buttershaw, Bradford, has gone on trial accused of ten charges of indecent assault and two allegations of indecency with a child.

The Bradford woman alleges that she was sexually abused while Willoughby was baby-sitting at her family home when she was aged between seven and nine years old.

Prosecutor David Gordon said the complainant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, described how Willoughby would get her to close her eyes and put her finger in the pages of a pornographic magazine as he was flicking through it.

The complainant alleged that she would then have to do whatever was shown on that page.

“The defendant would hide this particular pornographic magazine under the carpet in her bedroom for use on other occasions,” alleged Mr Gordon.

The court heard that Willoughby was alleged to have told the young girl that it was their secret and that “bad things” would happen if she told anybody.

Mr Gordon said the woman did make allegations in around 1995, but by then Willoughby had left the country and was living in the United States.

“With the passage of time and the development of the internet searching for people worldwide became altogether easier and ultimately (the complainant) found him in recent years on a social networking site,” said Mr Gordon.

“She recognised him from his photograph on the internet, on the Facebook site, although he was a lot older than he had been.

“After locating Barry Willoughby on the internet she decided, as an adult now, to report the matter afresh to the police to see if something could be done about it.”

Mr Gordon said the complainant struggled to remember all of the things that the defendant had done to her as a child, but the police were able to find the transcript of her interview in the early 1990s and that helped to “jog her memory”.

He alleged that the complainant’s mother also told police that she had found a pornographic magazine under the carpet in her daughter’s room.

Following news of Willoughby’s extradition appearing in the media, the second complainant, who also cannot be identified for legal reasons, came forward to make allegations against him.

She told police that Willoughby used to live near her family in Halifax and she alleged that he had sexually abused her when she was aged between 11 and 15 in various locations including a trailer on industrial premises, in an outhouse in nearby woodland and at the swimming pool.

Mr Gordon said the woman, who was not known to the first complainant, had never reported the incidents but when she saw that someone else was making sexual allegations against Willoughby she decided it was time to come forward.

The trial continues.

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