Newspaper founder Eddy Shah 'had sex with schoolgirl in hotel rooms'

Prosecution alleges abuse took place in the early 1990s

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The Independent Online

Eddy Shah, the entrepreneur who revolutionised the newspaper industry by introducing full-colour printing in the 1980s, is on trial accused of six charges of raping a schoolgirl and forcing her to take part in a threesome with a prostitute.

Mr Shah, the founder of the Today newspaper, appeared at the Old Bailey, which heard that his alleged victim waited 20 years to tell police of events that she claims took place between 1993 and 1995.

Gillian Etherton, QC, prosecuting, told the court: “These allegations are about child abuse. She was a young girl who should have had the protection of the considerably older adults around her.

“Instead, she was used by these adults for their own selfish personal needs resulting in her sexual abuse.”

The offences are alleged to have happened when the girl was between the ages of 12 and 15.

Mr Shah, 69, of Chippenham, Wiltshire, is accused of having sex with the girl after she was taken to various hotels by Susan Davies, who Ms Etherton said was a former prostitute and escort and “a woman of few moral scruples”. Ms Davies, 53, of Swanley, Kent, faces 14 counts of aiding and abetting rape indecent assault, indecent assault and child cruelty.

A third defendant, Anthony Pallant, 53, of West Malling, Kent, a former lover of Ms Davies, is also accused of six counts of rape and indecent assault. The three have denied the charges and have described the girl’s claims as “a series of lies, malice or pure fantasy that never happened”.

The former newspaper owner, who is charged under his birth name of Selim Shah, owns and runs golf courses, leisure centres and hotels and is an author.

He founded Today as a national newspaper in 1986, using then revolutionary offset printing technology and computer-based photosetting. The paper played a key role in ending the hot metal typesetting era. In 1987 it was bought by Rupert Murdoch, who closed it down eight years later.

The Old Bailey heard that Mr Shah told police after his arrest that he had known Ms Davies as a prostitute for many years.

The complainant told police she was taken by Ms Davies to a hotel to meet Mr Shah when she was 14.

At the first meeting she was rebuked by the older woman for refusing to have sex. “Thereafter and always in hotels, sexual acts took place between Eddy Shah, Susan Davies and the girl,” Ms Etherton said.

“She said she to deal with it so she became robotic. She knew what was happening was bad and she still could not believe it.”

The alleged victim said the last time she had sex with Mr Shah was when she was 15.

The case continues.