Former Calderdale man accused of rape was “devastated” by police knock on the door

Bradford Crown Court

Bradford Crown Court

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A former Calderdale man accused of a series of sex offences against five female complainants has told a jury that he was “devastated” when the police knocked on his door.

Gordon Tidswell, who used to work as a refuse collector and an ice cream man in area, has denied charges of rape, attempted rape and indecent assault covering a period between 1980 and 2004.

The married 63-year-old, who now lives in Bridlington, told a jury at Bradford Crown Court that he was “devastated” when police officers turned up at his home in 2013.

Tidswell said he was initially taken to Bridlington police station, but had to be rushed by ambulance to Scarborough hospital after he became ill.

He later attended at Halifax police station to be questioned about the allegations of historical abuse and in court Tidswell repeatedly denied sexually abusing any of the five complainants.

Tidswell, who has no previous convictions or cautions, is alleged to have attempted to rape a woman in 1980 and during questioning in court he said he had made a “pass” at that complainant.

But Tidswell denied touching the woman sexually and said he hadn’t tried to rape her.

Tidswell also denied raping or sexually abusing four other complainants who were all young girls at the time of the allegations.

None of the alleged victims can be identifed for legal reasons.

The prosecution has alleged that Tidswell used a pretext of checking some of the girls for “worms” or “ants in their kickers” in order to commit the abuse, but he said he had never done that.

He also rejected claims that he had raped some of the young complainants while they were alone with him in his car.

The trial continues.