A 70-year-old church warden accused of sexually abusing young boys who came to work on his farm has appeared in court.
Michael Allfrey, a member of Storridge parish council, denies sexually touching six boys, aged nine to 14, between 2005 and summer 2011.
At Hereford Crown Court today the married father was accused of touching the boys as they rode on his quad bike and tractor at his farm in Storridge.
He is also accused of encouraging three of the boys to engage in sexual activity.
In total, Allfrey is charged with 11 counts of sexual assault and four counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. He pleads not guilty to all offences.
The boys were being paid to work on the farm; collecting eggs, feeding cows and sheep.
On the first day of what is estimated to be three-week trial, Judge Toby Hooper QC heard how
Allfrey, of Wildgoose Hill, Hereford Road, Storridge, allegedly told one boy he would “spank” him if he made mistakes while working.
When police asked whether he thought it appropriate to spank a 13-year-old boy, Allfrey replied, “Yes, it concentrates the mind”.
In his opening speech Jonas Hankin, prosecuting, told the jury they would hear many positive things about Allfrey as a respected member of the local community.
“He is a church warden,” said Mr Hankin.
“He is a parish councillor.
“You will hear a substantial amount of evidence from the defendant and other’s called for him that shows Michael Allfrey in a very positive light.
“The positive elements in his character, which undoubtedly exist, do not mean he is incapable of committing offences like these.
“It is how Michael Allfrey behaved in the company of these young people, not how he behaved in other aspects of his life that we are concerned with.
“What reason have these young people have to come forward and lie about a man, if his account is truthful, has only ever shown them kindness.”
The court heard that Mr Allfrey’s defence, lead by Michael Birnbaum QC, will be that the boys had “put their heads together” and colluded.