‘Quivering’ girls relive Aqua Vale ‘sex attack’ in court

Aqua Vale Swimming and Fitness Centre
Aqua Vale Swimming and Fitness Centre

Two teenage girls who claim they were sexually assaulted at Aqua Vale in Aylesbury were left ‘quivering’ with fear, a court has been told.

Anthony Crawford, 40, is charged with sexually assaulting the pair, aged 15 and 16.

He is also charged with voyeurism after a 19-year-old girl claimed she was spied on at the same swimming pool less than a month later.

The court heard that Mr Crawford, from Blenheim Crescent in Luton, admits he is the man captured on CCTV in the changing rooms on February 7 when the alleged attacks took place.

Prosecutor Alison Ginn described his actions as ‘roaming’ around the unisex changing village.

Mr Crawford is alleged to have reached under the cubicle door and touched the two girls as they perched together on the bench.

The 16-year-old girl said she was ‘sat on the edge of the bench and it felt like a hand because it was quite big’.

The 15-year-old girl said: “It was a hand. It can’t have been anything else.

“I didn’t take it in, it didn’t really click but I said: ‘Did you feel that?’

“We were both completely shocked and I’m kicking myself for not looking under the cubicle.”

The girls rushed to the female toilets because they felt ‘safer’ there.

They then reported it to a woman who said they were ‘quivering’ and ‘visibly upset’.

Amersham Law Courts heard that police officers performed a reconstruction and found they could reach up through the gap at the bottom of the cubicle - measuring six to eight inches - ‘with ease’.

On April 2 – the date of the alleged voyeurism – Mr Crawford was again captured on CCTV at Aqua Vale, the jury was told.

A 19-year-old girl claims she was spied on twice in a matter of minutes from under the cubicle while she was ‘completely naked’.

She ‘kicked the baby changing table’ towards the man so it ‘banged the wall’ which scared him off.

An Aqua Vale worker recognised Mr Crawford from the February 7 incidents, the court heard.

The jury was told Mr Crawford handed himself in five days after a public appeal to trace a man featured in the pool’s CCTV.

He then read a prepared statement in which he admitted ‘hoping to spy’ on the girls on February 7 while they were changing.

But he claims he ‘did not intentionally touch’ the girls.

However, he admitted that he ‘tugged on their towels hoping to see more’.

The trial continues.