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Headteacher denies sexually touching boy
A headteacher has denied he sexually touched a teenager, telling a jury that ''none of it happened''.
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 had previously heard.
The offences were said to have taken place at Howard's home in Basingstoke, and in a car, the jury heard.
But giving evidence in the witness box, Howard, who was in charge of Velmead Junior School in Fleet, but is now suspended, said: ''I have never touched him (the alleged victim) in that manner in a car or otherwise - none of it happened.''
When asked by his counsel Katherine Kelleher if he had ever touched the teenager in a sexual way, or kissed him on the neck, or forced him to hug him until the boy told the older man he loved him, Howard replied: ''Not at all - never''.
Howard did admit he had hugged the boy when he had said hello and goodbye to him or to comfort him when he was upset over a row with his mother, but he told the jury that it was not sexual.
He told the court he had told the teenager he was a gay man who had had a relationship with someone called Ian but it had ended. He said the teenager had then called him homophobic names and at that time, at the end of 2011, their relationship was ''fraught''.
He said he did give the boy money and gifts, and took him to football matches and other sports events, but his parents knew about it.
When asked by Ms Kelleher if he was over-generous, Howard replied: ''I would not say it was exceedingly generous. I behave like that to other people. 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 University of Southampton graduate, from Chineham, has pleaded not guilty to two specimen counts of sexual activity with a child between 2010 and 2011.
The prosecution allege that Howard showered the boy with gifts, took the youngster to football, cricket and tennis games and even bought Olympic tickets, while continuing to fondle him on numerous occasions.
He also gave the teenager, now aged 18, football shirts, money, a mobile phone and other gifts, the court heard.
The boy alleged he was touched inappropriately over his clothes in the house 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.
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's, the jury was told.