British harpist goes on trial for three-way sex with underage boy

British harpist goes on trial for three-way sex with underage boy


norman lebrecht

January 03, 2018

The British harpist Danielle Perrett went on trial at Ipswich Crown Court today charged with sexual abuse of a 14 year-old boy in 1984.

Perrett, 58, is a successful performer who has played at royal and state occasions. She is accused together with her former partner Richard Barton-Wood of offences against the boy, who was a pupil at a school where Barton-Wood taught.

Perrett and Barton-Wood deny the offences. The trial continues.

Reports here and here.



  • will says:

    I met Ms Perrett about 20 years ago after a concert at the Wigmore Hall in London. She is / was a nervous, shy little lady, almost ‘asexual’ I’d say…!
    There is NO way that she could be involved in this alleged story of sexual abuse, I am quite sure. This whole thing stinks of ‘mischief making ‘ by the alleged abusee.

    • Alvin Dinkin says:

      The partner?

      “Barton-Wood, from Wymondham, Norfolk, denies one count of attempting to commit the act of buggery on a male person, attempting to commit indecent assault, and indecent assault on a male person.”

      Juicy stuff. But don’t castigate me for being provocative, that is a direct quote from the linked Daily Mail report.

    • Alex Davies says:

      I don’t think meeting somebody once 20 years ago qualifies you to draw these conclusions.

    • AB says:

      I had a similar shocked reaction as you when this story was pointed out to me by a friend and colleague yesterday.
      However in my case I have rehearsed, concertized , travelled with, conversed with and been to Ms Perrett’s home on a number of occasions over the years. I have not seen her for the last two years or so due to the accident and serious health issue which put my career on hold .
      To put my thoughts in context I underline that is vital that any allegation of abuse be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. Possible victims must be listened to with consideration as must the accused. The court must take its responsibility for weighing the evidence. Colleagues and friends have to try to keep an open mind, even if every fibre in one’s body screams that the accusations cannot be true.
      My personal opinion ( and it is just my view that I am sharing with you) is that the details as reported in the press do not in any way , shape or form correspond to the person that I know at all. Everything that I have seen of Ms Perrett ,and in several contexts, speaks of someone who is supportive , a collaborative musician rather than someone with a thirst for power/ control over others or even self promotion. I am sure that this story has been met with utter disbelief and consternation by the many people who have spent any amount of time in her company.
      The British and indeed international musical establishment has been plagued with grooming and abuse incidents which as I say need to be investigated seriously. According to the press we will know more in 2 weeks time and we must trust and leave the court to do its work in the meanwhile of course.

    • Complicity says:

      When I identified one of the many well-known abusing violin professors (still teaching) to his former pupil, she was surprised. Yet with another one (still teaching but ‘suddenly’ relocated to another country) his pupils will tell you themselves about it. What to think? At least we can feel safe in the knowledge that when another one is exposed the head of strings will ring round current pupils instructing them not to talk to the press. That’s what matters! (No, not THAT head of strings, this is a different one)

  • ForensicPsychologist says:

    I have evaluated many convicted sex offenders for court, including a few women as well as many man who had confessed to their crimes. You CANNOT tell by someone’s demeanor whether they committed a sexual crime. I have no idea whether this person did anything wrong/illegal, but your “verdict” is ingenuous.

  • David says:

    Shyness need have nothing to do with it. It’s about the abuse of power. You don’t know this when you are young. You trust and are led in. I was abused by a well known conductor when I was 19, 20, 21 and 27. I tried to reject him but I came back again because he was famous and charming, got free tickets for us at Covent Garden, told me how handsome I was, how he knew Britten and Pears and many others and I was desperately insecure and overawed. His autobiography and biography say not a word about his predatory approaches to young men but I have since met others who were also targeted. Every obituary spoke of his charm, his lack of ‘maestro’ ego, his modesty but when he came onto me he was a total dog. After his first assault, I was terribly confused and said ‘but how do you know I’m gay?’ and he said, ‘you’re not, you’re not; I’m married with kids and you will be too; this is just fun between boys’.

    • Jan Kaznowski says:

      Can’t you give us a cryptic clue as to who this conductor was ?

    • marinetti says:

      Please let it not be Colin Davis!

    • Alex Davies says:

      So the clues are:

      1. Worked at Covent Garden over a period of at least 8 years (I guess that’s a pretty wide net).
      2. Knew Britten and Pears (as, presumably, did every first-rank conductor at the time).
      3. Wrote an autobiography (more limited selection).
      4. Subject of at least one biography (ditto).
      5. Dead (given that Britten has been dead for over 40 years that is hardly surprising).
      6. Married with children (probably includes the vast majority of supposedly straight conductors and not a few gay ones).
      7. Reputedly charming, modest, and lacking in ego (I suspect that that has been said about many conductors, whether or not it is true, although I’ll bet it rules out Sir Georg Solti).

      • Alex Davies says:

        Oh, and given the idiomatic English I assume the person concerned in British, Irish, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, or American.

  • bj says:

    they are good in masking their true colors and identity. that’s who and what they are. but i am not judging miss perrett.

  • S. D. says:

    How can she possibly be charged for an episode that may or may not have happened 28 years ago? It strains credulity.