Harry Day trial latest

THE former assistant chief constable of Norfolk told a court yesterday that pensioner Harry Day had phoned him at home to seek advice after he was threatened by one of his alleged victims two months before he was arrested on suspicion of sex offences.

THE former assistant chief constable of Norfolk told a court yesterday that pensioner Harry Day had phoned him at home to seek advice after he was threatened by one of his alleged victims two months before he was arrested on suspicion of sex offences.

John Bligh, who is now assistant chief constable of the Ministry of Defence police, said Day, who was founder of the Hemsby-based Young Citizens Guild, sounded “agitated and distressed”.

Day said a former member of the guild had threatened him over the phone: “There was some sort of threat that indicated he would come to Hemsby and sort him out.”

Mr Bligh questioned Day as to how seriously he took the threat and said by his demeanour over the phone he could tell he was worried, so he advised the 70-year-old to report the matter to local police.


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Giving evidence for the defence, at Norwich Crown Court, Mr Bligh said Day had described the caller who made the threat as a troublemaker.

Mr Bligh said he also advised Day to try to trace the phone number from which the threatening call had been made.

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He concluded Day had reported the matter - but it was not until later that he found out that Day himself had been arrested over sex allegations.

Mr Bligh, who was assistant chief constable of Norfolk from 1999 to 2003, said that he had become a friend to Day through his work with the Young Citizens Guild, which was founded 50 years ago. On a number of occasions he would turn up at the summer camp and said that the idea behind the guild was to get young people involved in public-spirited actions.

“I had no concerns other than it seemed to be in something of a time warp.”

He said he felt the organisation had not moved with the times and it was only after he left to work for MoD police that he got more involved in helping modernise the organisation and making sure it complied with modern requirements.

He said Day took some persuading but realised he had to do this if the organisation was to survive.

Asked by Day's defence barrister Simon Spence if there was anything about the conduct of Day that caused him concern, Mr Bligh said: “None at all - rather his ability to cope with the amount of work he had to face and perhaps a lack of willingness of others to assist him in that work.”

In cross-examination, prosecutor Andrew Shaw asked Mr Bligh if Day had ever told him he had boys under 18 sleeping with him in his caravan.

Mr Bligh replied: “No, he did not.”

Day, who was made an MBE for his work with children, of Wood View, North Walsham, faces 21 counts of indecent assault, indecent assault against under-16s, incitement to indecent assault and carrying out a sexual act. He also denies perverting the course of justice after allegedly contacting a witness in the case to persuade them to support his story.

Another witness for the defence, retired coastguard Roger Smith who worked in Yarmouth from 1989 to 1996, said he was involved in the work with the guild and was impressed with their work and the role Day played.

“I can only say he appeared to be training them to be good citizens.”

He said Day acted like a teacher to the young people and was “firm but fair”. He also said he had no concerns about the way the guild was run.

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

The case continues.

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