Father And Son Deny Child Abuse

A devoutly religious father and son used their church-going respectability to hide their sexual abuse of children, Cardiff Crown Court has heard.

Retired civil servant Keith Gasson, 67, now of Egham, Surrey, denies 19 charges including rape and indecent assault.

Andrew Gasson, 38, denies 11 charges including rape, indecent assault and gross indecency with a child.

The court heard the attacks took place in their Cardiff home over more than eight years. The trial continues.

The court heard the Gassons were a religious family who would pray twice a day, discuss the Bible over dinner and attend church three times every Sunday.

But the jury was told that married Keith Gasson was abusing two girls and his son preyed on a girl and a boy.

Susan Ferrier, prosecuting, said the pair were “acting behind the cloak of respectability as a strict church-going family with strong moral values”.

She said: “The reality was that behind closed doors, sexual activity – illegal, unlawful sexual activity – was taking place.”

One witness, who is now in her 30s, gave evidence by videolink.

She told the court that the attacks began when she was four years old and continued until she was ten.

She said: “When he finished we always said prayers and then he left the room. I was always terrified I was not going to heaven.”

The woman said Mr Gasson senior also groped her breasts when she was an adult.

Miss Ferrier said a second witness had come forward after reading about the court case in her local newspaper.

She said the woman had first approached police in 2005 but did not press charges because she did not think anyone would believe her over a man like the defendant.

The court heard the abuse took place when the girl paid visits to the Gasson’s house in Llanedeyrn, Cardiff.

Miss Ferrier said: “She would try so hard not to go to that house that she resorted on at least one occasion to deliberately wetting herself.”

Miss Ferrier said Andrew Gasson started displaying “highly sexualised behaviour” towards a younger girl and boy from primary school age until he got a girlfriend at 15.

His alleged victim said: “He had a book with him. He said he wanted to look at our bodies, to show me this particular chapter on reproduction.

“I didn’t feel comfortable about it. It just wasn’t right.”

The court heard the woman kept the abuse secret until last year when she decided to go to the police because she was concerned for children who were coming into contact with Andrew Gasson.

His alleged male victim was eight when he was subjected to a series of indecent assaults and rape, the jury heard.

Miss Ferrier said: “When his parents would go out for church, Gasson seized the opportunity to sexually abuse him.

“The activity came to an end around the time Andrew Gasson started to have girlfriends.”

The trial continues.