Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Head teacher Andrew Howard denies fondling teenage boy

A head teacher accused of sexually touching a teenage boy has told a jury "none of it happened".

Andrew Howard, 46, of Basingstoke in Hampshire, denied fondling the boy, who was under 16, on the thigh and groin.

Winchester Crown Court heard the abuse took place at Mr Howard's home and in a car during 2010 and 2011.

Mr Howard, who is suspended from his position as head of Velmead Junior School in Fleet, admitted hugging the boy but said it was not sexual.

He told the court he "never" sexually touched the teenager, kissed him on the neck, or forced a hug until the boy said he loved him.

The teacher, who denies two counts of sexual activity with a child, told the court he had hugged the boy when he said hello or goodbye, or to comfort him when he was upset.

'Hello hugs'

The victim, who cannot be named, has never been a pupil of Mr Howard's.

Mr Howard, from Chineham, told the court he told the teenager he was gay and that the boy then called him homophobic names.

He also said he took the teenager to football, cricket and tennis games and bought him Olympic tickets, but that the parents knew about it.

The boy, who is now 18, also received football shirts, money, a mobile phone and other gifts, the court heard.

Katherine Kelleher, defending, asked Mr Howard if he had been over-generous.

"I would not say it was exceedingly generous," he replied.

"My income, relative to my outgoings, is considerable. It's about improving people's lives. If I can do that I'm very happy to do it."

The trial continues.

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