The controversial gold cape used by an elderly re-enactment society founder to grope women during battle performances has been shown to a jury as he demonstrated how he "encircled" his Ladies in Waiting.

Trevor Pilling, 78 and from Lycrome Lane in Chesham, showed the court how, with a swish, he would wrap the cape around women to keep them warm.

Pilling who denies 12 charges of indecent and sexual assault, used the cloak to "encircle" his victims and then molest them, prosecutors told the jury. Some of the offences happened during performances by The Lion Rampant Medieval Display Society.

Giving evidence on his own behalf, the white-haired society founder told the jury how he always played the part of Sir William Marshal, the 1st Earl of Pembroke, in theatre productions and put his gold cape around the Ladies in Waiting whose costumes meant their shoulders were bare.

He said the encirclement was to keep them warm and added that allegations he molested eight women were "simply untrue."     

The retired chartered accountant had worked in London for over 25 years for a high-flying firm in Holborn before setting up his own company which specialised in accounts for TV and theatrical companies which in Pilling's own words was "very successful."

The jury was told that in 1982 Pilling set up the Lion Rampant Medieval Display Society and had around 15 to 20 members at the time, before it reached it's heyday in the late 80's with approximately 40 members of all ages.

Pilling then described to the jury how the group would tour the country putting on performances mostly on bank holidays. The society performed as far away as Austria.

When Pilling was asked by his defence barrister, Denis Barry, about the first charge put to him regarding an assault that took place on a holiday in Cumbria, Pilling said: "I would not have done that.

"I was sat there reading my book and at that point in time she came and sat next to me, not at my suggestion. She rested her hand gently on my thigh and said we could go into one of the lounges and have sex. I was totally shocked and taken aback."

When further counts were put to Pilling he simply replied: "There was not" and "No, not true."

In another charge, Pilling is said to have inappropriately touched a woman at a pantomime show.

When Mr Barry put this to the defendant, he said: "No, I went in and asked her to move as I was afraid a fire was going to start and I needed to get the background moved that was very close to the lights.

"I grabbed her around the waist and asked her to move. I put my hands on the side of her waist and lifted her. My hands were not near her breasts, nothing could have been construed as that."

Pilling denied there was any form of sexual touching.

When quizzed on the next alleged incident, at Pilling's home and supposedly involved him putting his hands up the back of a woman's jumper and under her under-garments, he told the court "there was no truth to that at all."

Pilling described how male members of the group would help keep females warm by using their cloaks to wrap around them. A number of cloaks were placed in the courtroom and the gold cloak belonging to Pilling was held up by defence barrister Mr Barry.

"If a lady had bare shoulders you would put your cape around and hold it from the front otherwise it would just fall away," the OAP said

Mr Barry asked: "Did you use the cloak to disguise the fact you were putting your hands on her breasts?"

Pilling said: "No, I would have been holding the cloak out front."

Another complainant had earlier given evidence to the jury of how she was treated by Pilling, who used healing crystals and his mind to help people in pain.

Pilling described to the jury at Aylesbury Crown Court how his interest in healing had gone back to the 1960s and that he bought crystals from all over the country, including from the Glastonbury area, and told how he saw "clouds of pain" on people.

He said: "It is instinctive, it comes from within me. I must have helped literally hundreds of people, it happened anywhere, anybody that wanted my help. There was nothing sexual, not at all."

Under cross-examination Pilling said it would have been "extremely difficult" for him to have sexually assaulted one woman as he was suffering from extreme pain in his groin at the time.

The jury heard that the day after the alleged attack, his wife rushed him to hospital for a major operation after being diagnosed with a perforated colon.

"I physically couldn't do that," he said from the witness box.

"I would have had extreme difficulty in getting down and up again."

Relating to another occasion, he said he denied ever sexually assaulting a woman when he carried out a healing treatment using crystals, and instead suggested she said, "don't be a stranger, come see us again", as he left her home.

The jury heard Pilling had a gift to see "shadows" on bodies and had used his healing powers to help a considerable amount of people over the years.

However, Kim Preston, prosecuting, suggested it was "part of his patter" in order to win their trust.

She also suggested his modus operandi to sexually assault women in public was because he got a thrill from the idea that he may get caught.

"Was it a thrill for you that you might get caught by somebody, that they might walk in if you were treating someone in their home?" she said.

"Was it a thrill for you the idea of someone's own husband walking up and down outside the bedroom?" The defendant denied there was any thrill at all.

The jury heard Pilling would then talk to the victims' partners or friends after the attacks to "make it seem normal."

Miss Preston said: "One woman said she felt she was co-operating with you, with your cover up. That's what you would do, chat afterwards to make it all seem normal."

She accused "father figure" Pilling of using his respectable image as head of the re-enactment society to draw women to him.

"For 25 years we heard you would be sexually inappropriate to different degrees with a succession of different women, starting with 16-years-old and going up to a lady I think was in her 60s, taking advantage of them at their most vulnerable and when they came to you for help," said Miss Preston.

"Was it the power? Was it the control?"

Pilling replied: "No, I'm not that sort of person."

The trial was adjourned until today (Monday).