Day claims 'victim' made death threat

NORFOLK MBE Henry Day received a death threat from one of his alleged victims two months before he was arrested on suspicion of a catalogue of sex offences, a court heard yesterday.

NORFOLK MBE Henry Day received a death threat from one of his alleged victims two months before he was arrested on suspicion of a catalogue of sex offences, a court heard yesterday.

The 70-year-old founder of the Hemsby-based Young Citizens Guild insisted he was the victim of an “organised plot by somebody very clever, calculating and meticulous” as he continued to deny 21 counts of sexual abuse against eight different young boys at Norwich Crown Court.

Recalling the threat made in a phone call in April last year, Day, of Wood View, North Walsham, said: “I cannot remember the exact words but he said 'I'm going to kill you'. I took it seriously because of the way he said it. He said 'I'm going to kill you, I'm going to knife you' and then the phone went down. It was frightening.”

The pensioner contacted police, but decided not to pursue the matter. Prosecutor Andrew Shaw claimed that this was because he knew that if the police contacted the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, he would tell them about the abuse.

But the defendant, also known as Harry, said: “I felt sorry for him and thought he had a bad time and it would be okay once he had sobered up.”

Mr Shaw asked why the man, who had been a guild member, would have threatened to kill him. He added: “What had you possibly done to make him call you for the first time in 15 or 20 years out of the blue and threaten to kill you?

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“It must have been pretty bad. Did he threaten to kill you because you stole his childhood?”

Day said “absolutely not”. He added that the only possible reason the man would hold a grudge against him is that he tried to stop him getting drugs more than 20 years ago.

“I certainly haven't done anything to ruin his life - I've done my best to help him in his life,” he said.

He was asked if he had done anything to provoke somebody to co-ordinate “a national campaign to fit you up”. “Nothing whatsoever,” he replied.

The jury was told that the victim had contacted Day after watching a news feature about child abuse allegations in Jersey. Two months later Day was arrested at the guild camp in Hemsby, near Yarmouth.

Day denies 21 counts of indecent assault, indecent assault against under-16s, incitement to indecent assault and carrying out a sexual act. The charges date over a period from 1973 to 1995. He also denies perverting the course of justice after allegedly contacting a witness in the case in an attempt to persuade them to support his story.

Day founded the guild in 1957 in Dagenham, when he was aged 18, as he said he was fed-up of young people being given a bad press. The guild later moved to Norfolk after it was given the land at Hemsby.

Opening the case last month, prosecutor Andrew Shaw said the boys “were sexually abused by a man who the rest of the world saw as a hero”.

Day was made an MBE for his work with children and had links with royalty, police chiefs and other emergency services.

Victims said they were afraid to come forward because they thought these “friends in high places” would “make the allegations go away”.

Witnesses said Day's “favourites” and “blue eyed boys” would share his caravan, which provoked jealously in other members. It was there that most of the abuse is claimed to have taken place. Those he allegedly abused were rewarded with promotion through the guild's ranks, tuck-shop money, alcohol and cigarettes, they said.

The case continues.

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