A CHILD sex abuse trial will have to begin all over again after the alleged victim recognised one of the jurors from her school days.

The complainant was just about to give evidence behind a screen in the witness box at Worcester Crown Court yesterday when she told the judge she knew one of the male jurors from school.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was due to give her examination-in-chief against the defendant, Philip Oliver, the man accused of molesting her in Worcester during the 1970s. Cross-examination would then have been conducted by the defendant’s advocate, Adam Western.

The 70-year-old of Wilson Road, Shurdington, near Cheltenham, has denied 12 sexual offences - six indecent assaults against a child, four counts of indecency with a child, one count of sexual intercourse with a girl under 16 and one count of attempting to have sexual intercourse with a girl aged under 16.

The abuse is said by the prosecution to have taken place between 1971 and 1980 in Dines Green, beginning when the alleged victim was four or five years old. The victim described how some of the abuse took place during the Silver Jubilee and she remembered hearing Elton John songs playing in the background.

The complainant reported the alleged abuse to the police in 1993 but no records were available. She reported it again in 2016 when she was video interviewed by police. The defendant was then arrested and interviewed.

Potential jurors had been informed which school the complainant attended before the jury of nine men and three women was selected by random ballot and before they were sworn in.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright called in the juror to court and discharged him before the remaining 11 were brought into court.

He told them: “There’s no secret about this. You will have gathered this in any event - your colleague, absent because he has been discharged by me from a further role on the jury, went to school with the complainant.

“It’s not appropriate he should be on a jury during a case in which she is the principal prosecution witness for reasons I outlined just before you were impanelled yesterday.”

He told them there were cases where a jury could continue sitting with fewer than 12 jurors but not when the principal prosecution witness had not yet been asked any questions.

The jury who had heard the case opened and had already listened to two hours of video interview from the complainant were then also discharged. However, they were told the trial would begin again and they would be sitting on that jury when the trial resumed today.

A twelfth juror will be selected to sit with them.