• Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Trial: Oxford man denies sexual assault on girl after visit to church


Aug 23, 2022

A schoolgirl says she was sexually assaulted by a man during a sleepover at his house – after visiting church with him.

The girl, who was then aged between 12 and 13 and cannot be named for legal reasons, said she was asleep on a mattress in the bedroom Maxwel da Silva Miranda shared with his wife and son when she was sexually assaulted by the 28-year-old.

Jurors at Oxford Crown Court were told yesterday that the girl and Miranda had returned to the latter’s home in Oxford after going to an unnamed church in Swindon.

A cross-examination of her by the defendant’s barrister, Gordana Austin, had been pre-recorded and played to the jury.

Questioned by the lawyer, the girl denied claims that she had been the one to ask to stay at the man’s Oxford home. “He had asked us to stay at his house,” she maintained.

She told Ms Austin that Miranda’s account that he had not touched her, nor asked her to go to the living room and that the following day she asked to stay at his house were ‘lies’.

The jury was told that Miranda had allegedly touched the girl – then under-13 – on multiple previous occasions when she was alone with him.

“When it was happening I was scared to speak up,” the girl said in response to a question about why she had not gone to the police until around two years after the alleged assaults.

She agreed that she had not tried to ‘shout or scream’ when Miranda was touching her, but said she had tried to ‘leave the room’ and ‘avoided being left alone’ with him.

The girl claimed to have received a series of messages from Miranda’s wife after the older woman discovered an explicit picture that her husband had sent the young girl showing himself in a compromising position.

The youngster went to the police after speaking to her older sister about the defendant, she said. Her mother also learned about the allegations, along with the safeguarding officer at the girl’s school.

Asked in a video-taped interview with detectives about why she had come forward, she said: “It’s just been bothering me. The whole situation. I just couldn’t lie to anybody any more.”

The jury was told that Miranda was arrested at Foresters Tower in Wood Farm in November 2020.

He then gave a prepared statement when he was interviewed. In it, he said: “What she [the complainant] is saying is not true and it’s never happened.”

He went on to answer no comment to all questions asked of him by detectives.

Opening the case yesterday afternoon, prosecutor Gabrielle McAvock told the jury: “It is a bare denial from the defendant about these allegations. The burden of proof is on the prosecution. The standard of proof is that you must be sure of the defendant’s guilt.”

Da Silva Miranda, of no fixed address, denies sexual assault and sexual assault of a child under-13. The trial continues.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward