A grandfather has denied groping a 14-year-old girl in the 1980s and told a jury he could not even remember meeting her.

Pensioner Robin Wale said he had no recollection of the girl and only recognised her when police showed him an old photograph.

He said he had never touched her sexually and could not remember ever playing hide and seek with her in woodland while on a camping trip at Steps Bridge, near Dunsford, in 1982.

Wale, aged 70, of Silver Way, Shobrooke, near Crediton, denies three counts of indecently assaulting the girl in 1982 and 1983, when she was aged 14 and 15.

The prosecution alleges he touched her breasts on two occasions, including during the camping trip, and put his hands inside her underwear when he was staying at the same house.

Wale told Exeter Crown Court none of the allegations were true. He said he was twice married and had five children of his own.

He said he had no memory of the girl and only recognised her when police showed him a photograph during interview.

He said he could not recall any occasion where he played hide and seek with the girl and could not remember any occasion when he was alone with her at a friend’s house.

Nigel Wraith, defending, said Wale has not been in trouble for 45 years and had raised five children without any complaints about his behaviour.

He said: ’He had had years and years of being around his own children and their friends and has never been accused of anything else by anyone at all.

’He knew nothing of these allegations until 2014. If they had been made in 1982 and 1983 he might have had access to witnesses who could show they were not correct and that, for instance, he never went into the woods with the girl.

’All he can say is that it did not happen.’

The trial continues.