A former circus strongman has gone on trial for historic sexual abuse charges relating to a female child he would allegedly lure to his home.

David Edward Parkinson (80) now of University Street in Belfast but previously from County Fermanagh faces 12 charges between 1976 and 1983, which include two counts of rape as well as five each of gross indecency and indecent assault.

He denies all matters, which allegedly occurred when he resided in the Maguiresbridge area.

Dungannon Crown Court heard when arrested Parkinson provided ‘no comment’ replies to all questions during interview.

The complainant explained he was a regular visitor at her family home often bringing large amounts of his homemade wine.

When she was around 11, she alleges he asked her to clean the caravan in which he then resided for payment.

“I thought this was brilliant, I was going to get some money,” she said.

She described the caravan as “very tiny and extremely dirty and there were coins scattered across the floor”.

Allegedly seated just inside the doorway, Parkinson told her she could keep all the coins she swept up.

The complainant got down on her hands and knees and began gathering the coins in a dustpan but claims when she looked up Parkinson had exposed his genitals.

She said, “It was immediate. He asked me to touch him. I don’t recall if I did or not. I just remember running out of the caravan.”

The complainant disclosed what occurred to an adult relative but, “She told me to stop telling stories. It was just tales and I was never to mention it again.”

She confirmed returning to the caravan once or twice, “I’m ashamed to say, for the coins” but nothing sexual occurred there again.

Parkinson continued regularly visiting the complainant’s family home and in the meantime had moved to a house .

Again he asked her to clean for him and she agreed knowing, “I would get money and could buy things.”

Like the caravan, the house was, “Appallingly dirty. The kitchen was full of large bottles of fermenting wine … The coins were also on the floor and it was the same – if I picked them up they were mine. I went there knowing I would get coins.”

She alleged abuse became a regular occurrence.

Parkinson would take her upstairs where, “It was very dark. There were horrible blankets on the bed. Everything was dirty including (Parkinson) himself.”

He would sit her on a bed, her legs dangling over the end and her feet not touching the floor, then allegedly sexually assault her.

She claimed Parkinson began asking to have full sex assuring her “you’ll like it” but she refused.

From memory she recalled two instances when, “He continued on and did it. It was disgusting. If there were other times, I’ve blocked them out. It has taken a lifetime to try to come to terms with this.”

There were gaps in the alleged offending, when Parkinson would be touring with the circus, often for months.

He once returned with a woman who lived with him for some time, during which the complainant was never asked to clean his house.

With the abuse having allegedly occurred on and off for a number of years, Parkinson ceased when the complainant was around 17.

She initially reported the allegations to police in 2009 as, “I was living with self-blame and guilt. It’s almost harder than the abuse itself. But I just didn’t have the strength at that time.”

However she returned in 2020 having decided, “I wanted to see this through, to get some sense of freedom and closure. It’s taken a long time. It had destroyed me.”

The trial continues.