Fleet head teacher 'fondled teenage boy'

A head teacher sexually touched a teenager and showered him with gifts, money and tickets to sports events, a court has heard.

Andrew Howard, 46, of Basingstoke in Hampshire, allegedly fondled the boy, who was under 16, on the thigh and groin and told him he loved him.

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

Mr Howard denies two counts of sexual activity with a child.

He is currently suspended from his position as head of Velmead Junior School in Fleet.

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

Offered money

The jury heard that Mr Howard, from Chineham, confided in the teenager that he was gay and took him to football, cricket and tennis games and bought him Olympic tickets.

The boy, who is now 18, also received football shirts, money, a mobile phone and other gifts that he was sometimes told to hide from his parents.

He said he was touched on a sofa, in what Mr Howard called "sofa time" and kissed on the neck.

Mr Howard would rest his left hand on his thigh in the car before he touched the boy's "private parts", the court heard.

Mr Howard had discussed giving the boy £150, £200 or £400 a month if he chose an "option", but the boy told police he said he did not want to discuss the options.

In interview, he said: "He said he loved me and said he wanted me to say I loved him too.

"He would hug me and not let me go until I said it."

The boy said he did not mind that Howard was gay, but he was uneasy with what the older man did to him.

The trial is expected to last five days.

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