A pensioner has gone on trial accused of sex offences on his neighbour’s young daughter 20 years ago.
The 77-year-old from Hemel Hempstead, who cannot be named to protect the alleged victim, appeared at St Albans Crown Court on Monday.
The jury heard the girl was around 11 years old when the pair met at a block where her father and the defendant both had garages.
The accused pleaded not guilty to six offences of indecent assault between 1995 and 2000.
A jury was told the man, who at the time was in his late 50s, would be working on his car and gradually a friendship developed with the schoolgirl.
The prosecution said he “showered” the youngster with attention and began grooming her for sexual abuse that was to follow. It included kissing and intimately touching her.
On one occasion it is claimed the defendant drove the girl to some woods, where inside the vehicle he produced a cucumber which he used to indecently assault her with.
The jury heard that by the time the girl was 15 she was having full consensual sexual intercourse with the man.
When she was 16, the court was told, she had moved in with him at the house he shared with his wife.
The wife would sleep in a separate bedroom to her husband, who continued to have sex with the girl.
The jury was told that in October 1998, when the girl had been 14, police and social services had investigated the relationship.
In September 2013 allegations came out for a second time and the defendant was arrested again.
Interviewed by police he claimed he had been friends with the girl, but that he had never engaged in any sexual activity with her.
The case continues.