Former council leader denies sexually assaulting three women

Former Devon council leader Brian Greenslade had told a jury he did not grope and sexually assault three women.

Greenslade, 71, is standing trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of offences dating back to the 1990s and 2000s.

It is alleged that he indecently indecently assaulted two of the women while on council business and was working as an accountant when he fondled the third.

But taking to the witness stand on the third day of his trial at Exeter Crown Court the former Liberal Democrat politician denied the incidents ever took place. And he suggested the circumstances of his arrest in 2018 had not been handled well considering the long service he had given to the police authority.

Miss Carolina Guiloff, defending, asked Greenslade about an allegation made by a woman who claims she was assaulted by him during a function at the County Hall.

It is claimed he approached her and spoke to her before putting his arm around her and fondling her breast.

The woman says he let go when she told him she would break his fingers.

(Image: Frankie Mills)

He said he could remember the function but would not have touched her breast.

“I’m pretty damn sure I would have remembered if she had said that but I’ve no recollection of that at all,” he said.

“It doesn’t bear any credibility at all.”

Another allegation relates to an incident in the mid 1990s when Greenslade was working as an accountant.

The alleged victim says he stood behind her in an office and reached over to grab her breast. She could recall feeling sick and shaking while he just grinned. She said Greenslade was a ‘space invader’ who often got too close.

Greenslade said he could not recall any such incident. He said it was possible he could have touched her shoulder to see what she was copying.

He denied ever getting physically close to the woman or ‘leering at her’.

Another allegation relates to an incident in the mid 1990s.

Greenslade was on council business and alone with a woman when he allegedly lunged at her.

She said he grabbed both her arms and tried to kiss her then put his hand down the front of her trousers.

Greenslade said it never happened.

The trial has been told Greenslade was a man wielding ‘considerable respect and power’ at the time the offences were committed.

He served with the Lib Dems on the district and county councils for many years, including as leader of Devon County Council for over 15 years.

The three women came forward with their allegations in 2018. It followed a public censure of Greenslade by the county council on the grounds of his harassment of members of staff.

Greenslade told the trial he disputed the outcome of the censure.

(Image: Frankie Mills)

“I think the process was like a kangaroo court,” he said.

He listed several grievances he had against the process.

The defendant was arrested in 2018.

He told officers: ‘Is the Chief Constable aware of this? You’ll be aware I was chair of the police authority for many years’.

He told the trial he had served the police for many years and should have been asked to attend the station rather than being woken at home at 7am by police.

He said he had a very good relationship with the Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and thought he should have been treated ‘with a bit more respect’ having taken ‘flak’ for putting council tax up to protect the police budget.

The trial continues.

Devon Live – Devon News