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Hampshire head teacher groped boy, court told
A HAMPSHIRE head teacher sexually touched a teenager and showered him with gifts, money and tickets to sports events, a court has heard.
Andrew Howard, 46, is alleged to have fondled the boy - when he was under 16 - on the thigh and groin, and to have asked the youngster to tell him he loved him, Winchester Crown Court was told.
The offences were said to have taken place at Howard's home and in a car. Howard was said to have confided in the teenager that he was gay, the jury heard.
Howard, who was in charge of Velmead Junior School in Fleet, Hampshire, but is now suspended, took the youngster to football, cricket and tennis games and even bought Olympic tickets.
He also gave the teenager, now aged 18, football shirts, money, a mobile phone and other gifts that he sometimes told him to hide from his parents.
Matthew Jewell, prosecuting, said Howard ''absolutely denies'' he touched the boy sexually and it was the jury's job to decide if his accuser was telling the truth.
Howard, from Chineham, near Basingstoke, has pleaded not guilty to two specimen counts of sexual activity with a child between 2010 and 2011.
The boy said he was touched on a sofa in what Howard called ''sofa time'' and the head would rest his left hand on the teenager's thigh when the pair were in a car before he touched his ''private parts''. He also said Howard kissed him on the neck.
Howard also discussed giving the boy £150, £200 or £400 a month if he chose an ''option'', but the boy told police he said to Howard he did not want to discuss the options, the jury heard.
In interview, the teenager 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 teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was never a pupil of Howard, the jury was told.
The trial is expected to last five days.