A STEPFATHER has denied he was cruel to his stepson over a 10 year period.

The defendant, from Darwen, said it was ‘lies’ that he had mistreated the boy from when he was about four until he was a teenager.

He told Preston Crown Court that he and his stepson, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, got on well and that they had a ‘normal relationship’.

The defendant, who was being asked questions by his barrister Louise Whaites, said at the time some of the allegations refer to, the boy was ‘rebelling more than usual’.

He said: “He would not do things he was told.

“He would not tidy his room, would not wash up when his mum asked him.

“He sometimes had a strop and disappeared to his room so we did not see him.”

But the 58-year-old said he only ever swore at him a few times, and was never mean, never punched him, threw him around his bedroom or headbutted him.

He also denied pushing his stepson’s face into a sink of water, throwing a tape measure at him and holding cushions over the boy’s face.

The defendant said the only time he might have sworn at him was when he ran up a large phone bill.

Miss Whaites asked: “Did you ever seek to belittle him by putting him down?”

“No,” said the defendant.

The court heard how a referral had been made for the youngster to see a psychiatrist over concerns he ‘keeps himself to himself’ and ‘does not play with other children’, although the meeting never happened.

Prosecuting, Alaric Bassano said it was the prosecution’s case that the stepfather’s behaviour had made the boy react in such ways.

He said: “What if I were to suggest that it was bullying behaviour by you that is responsible?”

The defendant said: “I would say no, it never happened.”

The barrister added: “And the suggestion that you, over many years, repeatedly addressed him with nasty words in a nasty way, what do you say?

“It is all lies,” replied the defendant.

He denies five counts of cruelty to a person under 16.