Court told Dana's brother abused young girl in bed

Monday 14 July 2014 19.08
The case against John Brown is ongoing
The case against John Brown is ongoing

A court in England has been told that a brother of Eurovision winner-turned-politician Dana Scallon sneaked naked into the bedroom of a young girl and abused her as she lay next to her sleeping sisters.

The court heard that 60-year-old John Brown, of Lily Hill Road, in Bracknell, Berkshire, touched the girl inappropriately in almost identical circumstances on a visit to Northern Ireland in 1972 or 1973 and again at her home address in Essex some time before 1976.

Mr Brown faces five counts of indecent assault against two girls under the age of 13 and 16 at various times and locations in the 1970s.

Mr Brown denies the charges against him. 

The first incident is alleged to have taken place when the girl, then 12 or 13, was staying with family at her grandmother’s two-storey home in Northern Ireland.

The alleged victim, now 53, told Harrow Crown Court: "I remember being quite uncomfortable around John. He would want to cuddle and touch you... there was a few occasions when I woke up and John was touching me."

The court heard the girl went to sleep in a double bed with her sister and was later woken by the defendant, who was naked. "I knew my sister was next to me and I had to get her awake so I was scratching and pinching her arm. I needed help. I was scared, I was desperate to get her to wake up."

The woman said Mr Brown said nothing during the incident. She could not remember any details of the assault but believed he left when her sister woke.

She said Mr Brown returned to the room a short time later and "the same situation was happening again".

Mr Brown is then alleged to have left the room after the girl's sister woke again.

Prosecutor Claire Howell asked about a second incident said to have taken place between 1973 and 1976 at the alleged victim's home in Essex when she was sharing a room with her two sisters when Mr Brown was visiting.

She claims she woke to find Mr Brown touching her. Asked what she did, the woman told the court: "Nothing. I was too frightened. I didn't know if my sisters were asleep or awake. I was petrified – I couldn't move."

The court heard how the woman had spoken to one of her sisters in the following years but did not tell her wider family until she heard about the allegations of another victim in about 2011/12. 

The allegations arose during a family discussion in Essex, which the defence says was held to find someone to back up the first alleged victim's claims.

Defence barrister Martyn Bowyer, cross-examining the witness, pointed out she must be mistaken about the location of the first alleged incident, as her grandmother’s house was not built until 1976.

He also questioned the dates of her visit to Northern Ireland, pointing out that her parents must have been happy to take her to Derry at the height of The Troubles in 1972.

He also said: "You remember something that, as far as the details are concerned, you are entirely reliant on your sister. The detail of what you have been told comes from your sister.

"Before this incident he [Brown] was barely a part of your life and he was rarely ever in… Essex… was he?"

The witness agreed.

This afternoon the court heard that members of Ms Scallon’s family supported false allegations of sexual abuse against her brother to derail her election campaign following a bitter inheritance feud.

The court was told the historic allegations against Mr Brown had effectively split the Scallon family in two.

Former MEP and presidential candidate Dana, who is supporting her brother, allegedly told her sister Ellen Bradley: “You don’t know anything you stupid b----” when she was asked to settle the dispute.

One of the alleged victims, now 47, claims Brown touched her inappropriately on four occasions in the UK and the US.

Her claims are supported by another brother of Dana, Robert Brown, and her sister, Ellen Bradley, both of whom gave evidence in court this afternoon.

Defence barrister Martyn Bowyer said their testimony was concocted to get their own back at Dana and John Brown in a row over the inheritance of their mother’s house.

Robert Brown told the court he first heard about allegations against his brother, John, in 2003, around the time Dana first ran for the presidency of Ireland.

He claimed he confronted the defendant during a phone call a short time later.

Mr Bowyer said there was “no love lost” between the brothers because of the disputed inheritance and contended that Robert Brown had not in fact confronted his brother on the phone.

Robert Brown denied the accusations and insisted the phone conversation had taken place.

The court also heard testimony from prosecution witness Ellen Bradley.

Mrs Bradley said she first heard about the allegations in 2004, when she overheard an argument involving the alleged victim’s father and mother in the United States.

Mr Bowyer said that in a witness statement given to the Metropolitan Police by Mrs Bradley in April last year, she said she first learned of the abuse allegations in 2005, a year after the alleged argument in the US.

Mrs Bradley was asked if she had ever said she had been “swindled out of an inheritance” by her brother John, which she denied.

The hearing continues tomorrow.