Cafe owner's wife tells court girls had blackmailed her

THE wife of a pensioner found guilty of molesting three waitresses who worked in his Weston cafe told a court the girls had blackmailed her

THE wife of a pensioner found guilty of molesting three waitresses who worked in his Weston cafe told a court the girls had blackmailed her.Andreas Kritikos, aged 70, who owns the Camellia Cafe in St James Street, was accused at Bristol Crown Court of abusing four girls who worked there from 2002-2006.He denied three charges of indecent assault and five charges of sexual assault.But after a trial lasting six days, a jury found him guilty of indecently assaulting a 13-year-old girl in the summer of 2002, and a 14-year-old girl later that year by reaching under her skirt and touching her legs.Kritikos was also found guilty of two sexual assault charges relating to an 18-year-old waitress.The jury found the defendant not guilty of a further charge of indecent assault relating to the 14-year-old waitress and cleared him of one count of sexual assault against the 18-year-old. Two further sexual assault charges relating to a fourth girl were not proven. None of the girls can be named for legal reasons. Rupert Lowe, prosecuting, told the court Kritikos put his tongue in the ear of the 18-year-old and rubbed himself up against her bottom as he squeezed past her in his tiny kitchen last year. Mr Lowe also told the court he enjoyed getting close to the 13-year-old in 2002. He said: "While she was working there he would take every opportunity of pushing up against her, putting his hands on her waist. It was plainly sexual and she didn't like it."Giving evidence for the defence, his wife, Barbara, said the accusations against her husband were fabricated in an attempt to extort money from the family.The court heard how Kritikos 'employed some girl from around the corner' when his wife went on holiday without him last summer. Mrs Kritikos met the girl on her return. She said: "The girl said to me 'help me to go to Cyprus and I will withdraw the accusation'."She also told the court one of the girls molested by her husband had confided in her she was epileptic, had problems with her father and wanted money to run away from home.Rupert Lowe, prosecuting, said: "She was never epileptic and she never had problems with her father. She had a stable family background and she never asked you for money to go away from home. Do you think you might be confused?"Mrs Kritikos replied: "I never told no-one her secret until now." She added: "She used to wear very high heels."Mr Lowe asked if the girl was flirtatious or forward with her body, to which Mrs Kritikos replied 'no'. When the prosecutor suggested the girl wore a skirt above her knee at her husband's request, Mrs Kritikos said: "This is all lies."Kritikos will now be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on August 13 pending reports.

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