THE ALLEGED victim in the trial of a former Southampton headteacher choked back tears giving evidence today while describing how he sexually assaulted her in Winchester's Cathedral Close when she was 15-years-old.

She told how after one incident took place beneath a yew tree in December 1978, Richard Hilary, then a PE teacher, perched on a tombstone to re-tie his shoe laces.

Winchester Crown Court heard her describe the inside of the Hilary's marital home - a first-floor maisonette in The Pastures, Kings Worthy - including details about the bedroom and a specific book on WW2 RAF hero Richard Hillary she says the then 28-year-old showed her.

Defence barrister Alistair Wright challenged her version of events, asserting that she had a crush on Hilary and wanted to have a relationship with him.

“It didn't happen, did it?” he asked.

The alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, replied: “It did happen. I'm not the one living the lie.

“It's so embarrassing to be here in public saying these personal things,” she later said.

“It takes quite a lot of swallowing your pride to come and present what has happened.

“I thought it was my fault, I thought I was a silly girl.”

But prosecuting counsel Matthew Jewell told the jury the witness was too young to consent to such sexual activities.

When first questionned by police, Hilary strongly denied every aspect of the allegations, including that the 15-year-old had visited his marital home, adding: “I can't remember ever having a conversation with her (the alleged victim).”

After working for four years at Montgomery of Alamein School, now Kings' School, Hilary became head of PE at a school in Farnborough.

He went on to become the headteacher of Chamberlayne School, in Southampton.

The 63-year-old has no previous convictions and no other formal complaints were made against him during the teaching career, from which he has now retired.

Hilary, of Northend Lane, Droxford, denies three counts of indecent assault between December 1977 and December 1979.