Martial arts trainer accused of abusing girls suffers heart attack
The trial of a martial arts trainer accused of abusing nine girls has been arrested after a heart attack.
Derek Hodder was tried in Exeter Crown Court where he faced 41 allegations of sexual assault on girls aged 10 to 19 dating from the years 1990 to 2010.
All of the allegations dated from a time when he ran a martial arts club in Torbay and several involved complaints that he abused girls under the pretext of giving them sports massages.
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The jury had sat for almost a month and had heard testimony from the nine plaintiffs, but has now been removed from office by Judge Timothy Rose.
He told them there was no choice but to stop the trial and postpone the case until next year due to Hodder’s illness.
He said: “The trial must be stopped due to the health of Mr Hodder, who has undergone certain procedures as a result of heart disease.
“In a few days or so, he would have entered the witness box, but he is unfit and that cannot happen. Further procedures are due to take place in the coming weeks.
“The trial cannot go any further and will have to be heard again from the start. The court cannot conduct a trial in the interests of justice when the defendant is incapacitated and ill.
“I’m desperately sorry you’ve been here for about four weeks, but if there had been a way to prevent this from happening, I would have.”
Hodder started feeling unwell last week and had a heart attack early last week which led to emergency surgery and will require further treatment.
He was released from the hospital but was ordered to rest. He was due to start testifying in his own defense later this week. A tentative date for a new trial has been identified in April next year.
Hodder, 65, of Garlic Rea, Brixham, has denied 23 counts of rape, nine of indecent assault or sexual assault, four of sexual activity with a child, one of incitement to indecency with a child and another serious sexual offense.
His assistant coach Coldrick, 68, of Paignton, has denied two rapes and one child indecency offense, all relating to the same complainant.
During the four weeks of testimony, the jury heard how he gave intimate massages to some girls and told a teenage girl that he had to touch her private parts during a Shiatsu massage because he had to reach “all of them. the muscles of his body “.
A complainant alleged that he prepared her for sex after she joined the club to improve her self-confidence.
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