A MAN told jurors he has no idea why three complainants are accusing him of sexually abusing them in the 1970s when they lived at a children's home.

David Royle, 60, who served in both the Royal Navy and RAF, took the stand on day four of his trial at Chester Crown Court today to deny all 18 charges against him.

It is alleged that he indecently assaulted a girl and a boy, and raped a second girl while at Newton Hall in Frodsham, which was run by the National Children's Home (NCH).

The trio – who cannot be identified for legal reasons - were said to be between nine and 14 at the time. Royle was aged between 14 and 16.

Over the course of the trial, the alleged female victims told the jury the defendant would sneak into their bedroom at night and abuse them. This happened three to four times a week for two years.

The male complainant said Royle used to climb into his bed late at night or early in the morning to molest him.

Giving evidence, the defendant admitted creeping into a female-only bedroom and touching one girl on the legs and stomach but denied touching her genitals.

Under cross-examination from prosecutor Matthew Corbett Jones, he conceded the touching must have been sexually-motivated but said it was done out of adolescent curiosity.

He said: “I knew it wasn't right. It was naughty if you like. I was curious and inquisitive.”

This only happened a few times and came to an end after a senior member of staff spotted him leaving the bedroom and gave him a stern lecture.

He denied ever touching the second female complainant or the alleged male victim, saying he could never have abused the boy in the morning as he had a seven-day-a-week paper round that required him to be up by 5.30am.

Asked by defence barrister Edward Moss about the allegation of rape against one of the girls, he said: “It didn't happen. It's as simple as that.”

Mr Moss also asked him how he had felt when he heard about the claims made against him.

“My reaction was one of disbelief,” Royle replied. “I was gob-smacked, surprised. I couldn't believe these allegations were being made.

“I don't know [why they were made]. Unless they had some agenda I wasn't aware of.”

Mr Corbett Jones suggested the alleged victims were used as “sexual objects” by Royle, who knew his position as a senior boy meant he was more likely to be believed.

“You knew the culture was that you would be believed, didn't you?” the barrister said.

“Not necessarily. I don't agree with that,” replied Royle.

Pressed repeatedly about what he might have done to make the three complainants make up malicious lies about him, Royle said he did not know.

“You don't have the courage or decency to accept the wrong that you have done, do you?” asked Mr Corbett Jones.

“These accusations are untrue,” replied the defendant.

Royle, who now lives at Bracken Court, Harworth, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, denies all 18 allegations of sexual abuse, including indecent assault and rape.

The jury are expected to retire to consider their verdict tomorrow (August 18). The trial continues.