Devon

Charles Howeson denies sex offences

Charles Howeson
Image caption Former charity boss Charles Howeson denies the charges against him

A former senior naval officer accused of a series of historical sexual offences against boys and men has told a court there is no truth in the allegations.

Charles Howeson denies 12 charges, including sex assaults on board HMS Cleopatra where he was second-in-command, and after he left the navy.

Giving evidence at Bristol Crown Court Mr Howeson, 68, from Plymouth, denied "groping" an employee on a boat trip.

His trial continues.

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The former charity boss said the accusations, dating from 1985 to 1994, had left him "hurt and appalled".

He said he was not attracted to men or boys, and when asked if there was any truth in them he replied: "There is not."

Daniel Janner QC, defending, said his client was a man of "great integrity, charm and popularity" who "would not have risked all that he worked for".

The court heard that Mr Howeson was a prominent public figure whose duties had included being chairman of First Great Western, regional chairman of Coutts Bank and chair of the South West Strategic Health Authority.

He had also been executive director at Plymouth charity Groundwork Trust.

The charges include 11 counts of indecent assault and one other serious sexual offence against nine boys and men.

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