A mother broke down in court as she described how her young daughter cuddled up to her and accused Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes of sexual abuse.
The alleged victim was a friend of Hughes’ daughter in the 1980s and regularly went to the sitcom actor’s Sydney house for sleepovers.
On several occasions the girl, who was then aged around five or six, telephoned home to say she was upset, her mother told Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court on Tuesday.
The mother assumed the girl was upset because of rows she’d had with Hughes’ daughter.
But after one particular sleepover she came back very “quiet and withdrawn” before accusing Hughes of abuse.
Her mother had to steady herself and appeared to wipe away a tear as she described the moment her daughter made the allegations.
“She snuggled up to me and said ‘Mummy, the next time Robert or Jessica asks me to come to their place overnight can you please say no?’,” the woman told the court.
She asked her daughter what she meant and the girl replied: “Robert makes me sit on his penis.”
“He makes me sit on his lap and his penis gets hard.”
The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, made further allegations to her mother.
They include claims that during a trip to the beach Hughes made the girl swim between his legs, while his genitals were outside his swimmers.
The girl also told her mother that Hughes watched her in the bath and tried to beckon her into his bedroom while he was naked.
The mother said that on another occasion her daughter was suffering an infection around her earlobes that required antibiotic drops.
Hughes was asked to administer the medication during one sleepover.
“She said that Robert asked her to come and put her head in his lap, which she did,” the mother continued.
“He kept asking her to move her head further up and she didn’t want to because she felt his penis was hard.”
The mother said she notified her daughter’s school which eventually led to a police investigation.
Hughes, 65, is on trial for 11 counts of sexual and incident assault charges stemming from allegations that he abused five girls in the 1980s and 1990s.
He denies the charges.