A PROFESSIONAL golfer 'groomed' a schoolgirl before repeatedly sexually abusing her at an Oxfordshire course, a court heard.

Prosecutors claim that Derek Craik, of Oxford Road, Frilford Heath, embarked on a two-week campaign of abuse while he was playing professionally at the Chipping Norton golf club.

The 49-year old denies six counts alleging historical indecent assault against one teenage girl all alleged to have taken place over a two-week period in the early 2000s.

As his trial got under way at Oxford Crown Court yesterday prosecutor Charles Ward-Jackson told jurors the abuse was repeated on multiple occasions.

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He said: "The prosecution say that this case is about a man who worked as a professional golfer at a golf club in Oxfordshire.

"For a period of some two weeks in the summer [of the early 2000s], some time ago now, he sexually abused an underage school girl."

Outlining a number of specific instances of abuse Mr Ward-Jackson said that on one occasion Craik got on his knees before burying his head in the girl's groin, breathing heavily and touching her.

Other instances of alleged abuse outlined to jurors included repeated sexual touching of her over clothing and placing his fingers down her knickers.

Twice, jurors were told, the girl performed a sex act on him, with abuse taking place at the 'Pro Shop' of the club and on club grounds.

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Prosecutors said that the lead-up to the abuse had begun some years earlier with Craik telephoning his alleged victim whom he had 'taken a bit of a fancy to'.

Jurors were told that Craik had asked 'intimate' questions of her, such as asking what colour was her underwear and what was she wearing.

Mr Ward-Jackson said that before the sexual abuse it could be considered that Craik had preyed on his victim and said: "You may think that he was in some way trying to groom her and make her sexually interested in him."

Explaining why he said the historical allegations had taken so long to come to court jurors were told that the alleged victim - who cannot be named for legal reasons - had first made complaints in 2013.

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The woman later dropped her allegations, the court heard, due to 'stress' before she again went back to the police in 2017.

After the allegations were made, jurors were told, Craik was then interviewed by police at Banbury Police Station.

In that interview with officers, prosecutors said, he 'categorically denied any type of sexual acts with her or any type of sexual abuse.'

Mr Ward-Jackson said: "The likely issue in this case is a straight forward one. Did it happen or did it not?"

Craik denies all six counts against him and the trial - which is expected to last five days - continues.