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The former owner of a popular children’s petting farm claims his phone ‘fell into the pond’ before he was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting three girls.
Mark Hebdon was unable to hand police his mobile phone while being questioned over the alleged offences believed to have taken place while he ran Monk Park Farm in North Yorkshire.
The 54-year-old is accused of a range of accusations by the now women including performing sex acts on them, kissing and touching them, and texting them after sexually assaulting them.
Two of the girls accusing him of the sexual assault allegations, which are believed in total to cover a 15 year period, were between 13 and 15.
Teesside Crown Court heard that Hebdon who no longer owns the visitor attraction in Thirsk denies nine charges – including sexual activity with a child and sexual assault.
He also claims his phone ‘accidentally slid into a pond whilst trying to catch a duck which had a bleeding leg’ before his arrest.
Mark Hebdon (pictured outside court) – who has since sold Monk Park Farm – was unable to hand police his mobile phone for investigation while being questioned over the alleged offences
The 54-year-old is accused of a range of accusations by the now women including performing sex acts on them, kissing and touching them, and texting them after sexually assaulting them which are believed to have taken place while he owned the petting farm (pictured entrance)
Prosecutor Paul Abrahams told the court: ‘The first girl reported Hebdon to the police in 2012 – saying he had carried out sex acts on her.
‘The second girl told police that Hebdon kissed and touched her. The third girl alleges Hebdon told her he was in love with her and would leave his wife for her, as soon as she turned 16.
‘The third alleged victim says she carried out sex acts on Hebdon on numerous occasions.’
He told the court Hebdon kissed one of the girls ‘pushed her to the ground’ and then ‘performed sex acts on her’ after she had said ‘no initially’.
Mr Abrahams said a witness saw him kissing the girl and when they asked her about it, she said she was having an affair with Hebdon.
Teesside Crown Court heard that Hebdon (pictured on the Yorkshire Vet) who no longer owns the visitor attraction in Thirsk denies nine charges – including sexual activity with a child and sexual assault
This was then the alleged assault wsa reported to the police. One of the victims told officers that Hebdon messaged her the day after the sexual abuse to tell her that he missed her and that he had dreamt about having sex with her.
The third victim says she and Hebdon exchanged text messages on a daily basis. The abuse is alleged to have happened over more than a decade.
Tanya Griffiths QC, defending, told the court that the third alleged victim had a teenage crush on Hebdon, and initially told police that any affair was ‘nonsense’.
Ms Griffiths said the first alleged victim didn’t report what she says happened until eight years afterwards when she learned that the second alleged victim had made a report.
In 2020, when Hebdon of John Street in Great Ayton, was arrested, he told police that the allegations were a ‘load of rubbish’. Pictured: Hebdon outside the court
She told the jury that the second victim had ‘changed her allegations beyond recognition’ in her second police interview after no charges were brought against Hebdon from her first police interview in 2012.
In 2020, when Hebdon of John Street in Great Ayton, was arrested, he told police that the allegations were a ‘load of rubbish’.
The court heard that the former farmer suffers from ‘memory loss and takes longer to work out what’s being said’ after suffering from meningitis.
The trial continues.