A market trader accused of raping an 11-year-old girl says the alleged victim is lying about him because he refused to accept cannabis from her as payment.
Harmohan Nangpal took the stand at the Old Bailey on Monday.
He is charged alongside ten other men, accused of a string of sex offences against two young girls.
The alleged victim, known as Woman A to protect her identity says that Nangpal befriended her when she was just a child, and had sex with her in his white van in a car park close to Aylesbury market.
But in giving evidence Nangpal, a married father of two who had a stall selling smoking products, said that he did not realise who Woman A was until he spoke to another defendant while on remand, and remembered an incident in 2011 when she would have been 18.
During this incident, Nangpal says that Woman A wanted to buy items that cost £25 and asked to pay £10 later. Nangpal claims that he refused as he didn’t know the girl. She then offered to pay him with a bag of cannabis, and when he refused she left unhappy with just a grinder, which is used for preparing the drug.
Nangpal said that Woman A returned to the stall on another day and told him she needed lots of things, and again asked to pay for them with cannabis. He says that he refused but she said she would give him a few days to think about it.
On a third occasion she returned with the grinder which she said was faulty. Nangpal said that he could not give her a refund, and says she became angry and said, ‘I won’t spare you’ before running off when he picked up his phone to call the police.
Nangpal said: “At that time I just thought she was in a very heated state, so I just let her go and she went.”
He added: “She said to me ‘I have already stolen so many things from your stall and there is nothing you can do about it.’”
Prosecuting Oliver Saxby also asked Nangpal about his relationship with Vikram Singh, who is also a defendant in the case, and why another defendant, Akbari Khan had his number on his mobile phone.
Nangpal said that he and Singh swapped numbers so that he could source items for him that he didn’t have on his stall, and they were customers, not friends.
He said that he did not know how Khan had got his number, but that lots of customers know him in Aylesbury through the market stall.
Speaking about time served in custody on remand, Nangpal, who has no previous convictions, said: “For the first two weeks I was very upset, then everyone spoke to me and said, there is nothing you can do and if you carry on with that you will destroy yourself.
“Because of this case I have started suffering from depression and have been prescribed medication.”