A PARTNER at a prestigious Chester clothes shop and one of his employees are accused of raping a young boy.
Richard Steel Watson, the joint owner of Sartori Menswear in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, denies attacking the youngster on two occasions.
His sales assistant Richard Anthony Partridge, 24, of Denbigh Street, Chester, has also pleaded not guilty to one charge of rape.
The jury retired last night and will today continue deliberating its verdict following a week-long trial in Chester Crown Court.
Throughout the time the jury was considering its verdict, the defendants were accompanied by a small crowd of supporters, including other employees from the city-centre business.
It is alleged that the two men assaulted the primary school pupil in a hotel room on October 25, 2001, after they had both been drinking heavily.
Watson, 42, of Wycliffe Court, Chester, is also accused of carrying out a separate attack on a day between June 1, 2001 and October 22, 2001, when Partridge was not with him.
The Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, heard that on October 25 the defendants took the boy and a friend for a day at Alton Towers then stayed the night in a nearby hotel.
Neither of the children can be named for legal reasons.
Thomas Teague QC said the youngsters were with the men in a pub all evening before they all retired to their room, and the attack took place when the victim's friend fell asleep.
During a police interview, which was video-recorded and shown to the court, the young victim said: 'I tried to stop it but I wasn't strong enough. I was very scared.'
As he was cross-examined by defence barristers Peter Rouch (for Watson) and Patrick Harrin (for Partridge), he said he had been in a lot of pain during and after the attack.
He said he had been too scared to talk about the attack at f irst, but told the court that he had eventually told his mother because he did not want the men to attack anybody else.
'I didn't tell my mum everything,' he said, 'but I told her the main bits. I have not told any of my friends because I am afraid they will stop liking me.'
The boy told the court that he has had nightmares as a result of the abuse and received counselling.
After 24 hours of deliberation, the jury returned to Court One yesterday to ask if they could view the video interview for a second time.
Watson and Partridge deny any kind of sexual activity involving the boy. The two men, who both wore pale-grey suits and open-collared shirts in court, stared straight ahead while the video was being replayed.