A FORMER Lampeter man has gone on trial accused of sexually assaulting three youngsters aged five and seven, when he was himself just 12 years old.

The offences took place 33 years ago but have come to light only recently, Catherine Richards, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court.

Timothy John Gudgeon, now aged 45, denies indecency with a five-year-old girl, two charges of indecent assault of another girl aged five, and indecently assaulting a seven-year-old boy.

Miss Richards said the assaults took place in the hamlet of Cwrtnewydd, seven miles north of Lampeter, where Gudgeon had been living during the early 1980s.

It was not, she added, the sort of sexual experimentation that children might engage in.

Gudgeon, she alleged, had been manipulative and had given the youngsters gifts and money to get them to co-operate.

Although they had been very young, they realised instinctively that something wrong and sinister was taking place, she added.

Gudgeon had tried to pretend they were playing games — “but it was not innocent fun and he would have known that”, Miss Richards told the court.

Miss Richards said that, although Gudgeon had been only 12 years old, there was a huge gap between his age and that of his victims.

She said all three were affected by their experiences and one of the girls recently underwent counselling and revealed what had happened.

Gudgeon later left the area and now lives at Park Gate Cottage in Taunton, Somerset.

After his arrest, Gudgeon told police that nothing sexual had happened and the allegations had been made up.

The trial continues.