A PARROT breeder has denied abusing a young girl who he helped to babysit when she was aged six to nine.

Pensioner Leslie Barr told Exeter Crown Court that his wife Linda looked after the little girl and she spent very little time with her.

He told the jury that her claims that he tried to have sex with her over a bench in his garden shed could not be true because he is diabetic and suffered from erectile dysfunction at the time.

He also denied touching the girl in the bedroom of his home at Newton Abbot or in the back garden or car. He said she had invented all the allegations.

Barr said the girl’s description of his shed was all wrong and that he had never had a work bench in there because he used it to store food for the birds he kept in his aviary.

He said he sometimes used the shed to keep a breeding pair of African Grey parrots. He denied that it had a window which the complainant described in her video-recorded interview with police.

Barr, aged 74, of Queensway, Newton Abbot, denies seven counts of indecent assault.

The prosecution allege Barr abused the girl when she was at his house by putting his hands up her top or down her trousers and on one occasion inserted something into her while they were alone in his garden shed.

Barr told the jury he had been a motor mechanic until having to give up work because of diabetes and that he then did some gardening and other jobs as well as looking after horses which he kept at Coombe in Teignhead and the birds which he kept in his garden.

He said the diabetes also left him incapable of getting an erection and made him disinterested in sex.

He said his wife ‘wore the trousers’ in their home and would have ‘thrown him out on the street’ if he had misbehaved. He also denied keeping a pornographic magazine in his car.

He said: ‘I never sexually abused that child in any way. I did not rape her in the shed. It is entirely ridiculous. I haven’t got the foggiest idea why she said these things.’

The trial continues