A man is accused of throwing a boy off a 100ft cliff after the ten-year-old tried to stop him sexually abusing an underage girl, a court heard.

Anthony Stocks is on trial accused of attempting to murder the boy at cliffs in Ovingdean, Brighton.

Oxford Crown Court heard yesterday that the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, tried to stop the assaults, resulting in Stocks allegedly trying to kill him.

The 54-year-old, of Iceni Close, Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, is also said to have wanted to marry the girl, who also cannot be named, and sexually assaulted her on several occasions in the early 2020s.

Stocks has been charged with four counts of sexual assault of a child under 13, one charge of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and one count of rape of a child.

The Argus: Anthony StocksAnthony Stocks (Image: NQ)

Stocks also faces one charge of attempted murder and an alternative charge of cruelty to a person under 16.

The trial started yesterday when a jury heard Stocks had denied the charges, stating he "didn’t see" the boy fall from the cliff but had "heard a noise" and found him at the bottom.

Speaking about the alleged sexual assaults, prosecutor Zoe Johnson KC said: “It often appears as if the defendant is seeking to make [the girl] dependent on him and indeed, to an extent, grooming her.

“[During the police investigation], the defendant told his mental health support worker that one day he would get married to [the girl] and they would be together forever.

“He said that [she] listened to him and understood him.”

The jury heard the girl had confided in the boy after the alleged assaults and was scared.

Stocks became aware that the boy knew about the alleged assaults and had planned to intervene.

On September 24, 2022, Stocks took the boy to Ovingdean after allegedly contemplating pushing him off a cliff at a quarry in Chinnor several weeks earlier.

A witness states they then saw a ‘small shape fall as if thrown from the cliff’, followed by ‘a shriek’.

Passers-by called the emergency services and the boy was airlifted to St George’s Hospital in London.

He suffered from several fractures including to his head and arm, a deformity to his neck and a laceration of his spleen and kidney.

When interviewed by police, the girl claimed Stocks had admitted he was going to push the boy off the cliff "as he wanted to get rid of him".

Concluding her opening, Ms Johnson KC said: "In conclusion, the defendant abused [the girl and the boy] for his own selfish purposes.

"He forced [the girl] to have sexual contact with him, knowing it was wrong otherwise why would he tell her to keep it a secret.

"He was manipulative and the two children were compliant."

The trial continues today.