THE defence case in the trial of a Wantage man accused of abusing a child, including smothering him with pillows, has started.

David Lewis, of Woodfield, Wantage, is on trial at Oxford Crown Court charged with six counts of wilfully assaulting a child and one count of wilfully ill-treating a child.

The 44-year-old is accused of smothering the boy with pillows, pushing him, digging his knuckles into his legs, slapping him, and gripping him around the neck.

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He was charged with a second count of wilfully ill-treating a child by allegedly cutting himself in front of the child but this was dismissed by the Crown Prosecution Service on Wednesday (May 15) and the judge formally entered a not guilty plea.

On the same day, Lewis took the stand to give evidence to the jury where he told them the allegations were not true.

When asked if he had ever smothered the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, with pillows to obstruct his breathing, Lewis said he had not.

“Obviously while we were wrestling there might have been a time where it happened but it wouldn’t have been held there,” he said.

“It would have been placed there. It was pillow fights, hitting each other with it. There were times where he would say he had had enough and I would stop.

“Obviously there’s times where it might have continued slightly.”

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Lewis was also asked about an alleged incident where he had pushed the boy, causing him to hit and cut his head.

The defendant denied this and said he had ‘gently pushed’ the boy and he had fallen accidentally.

“[The boy] walked through the door and I gave a gentle push with my foot to get him out the door. It would have been on the back or bottom.

“It was a gentle fall but when he landed he fell back and bumped his head.”

When asked how he felt about the boy crying, Lewis replied: “First of all, it was an accident, it wasn’t intentional. I was concerned that he hit his head.”

The defendant was also asked about an allegation of putting his hands around the boy's neck. He denied this and said he had put his hand on the boy’s chest and stepped back.

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“There was no force, there was no push but [the boy] took off the floor and went flying backwards exaggerated,” he said.

“It was like a cartoon character, feet together in the air. He had no injuries, he wasn’t hurt.”

The trial continues.