THE TRIAL of a former Hampshire head teacher accused of sexually abusing a teenage pupil had to be stopped after he broke down and sobbed in the dock.

Judge Susan Evans ordered the case be temporarily halted to allow for Richard Hilary to compose himself, having taken the stand in his own defence.

Yesterday Winchester Crown Court heard the 63-year-old admit to meeting his alleged victim alone at the Farley Mount beauty spot near Winchester - but he insisted that happened after she had turned 16.

However the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, maintains he sexually abused her three times when Hilary was 28 and she was just 15 - claims which he strongly denies.

Churchgoer Hilary told the court that the teenager approached him while he was a PE teacher at Winchester's Montgomery and Alamein School and said: “You know I have always fancied you, you know I like older men”.

He said the pair met in the country car park in 1981 where there was “a minor bit of touching over the top of clothes”.

Hilary told the jury that when they met at Farley Mount again the girl wanted to make love and started to take off her jeans, only for him to reply: “I'm sorry, I can't do it, this has to stop.”

The court heard how when he was first questioned by police, Hilary not only denied the assault allegations from the 1970's but said he couldn't even remember ever talking to the girl.

Yesterday, as his version of events changed, he said his “head was in a muzz”.

He told the court: “It's now about trying to cleanse yourself and be totally honest to your wife, to whom you have been married for 37 years.”

Defence barrister Alistair Wright challenged her sexual assault claims suggesting the woman had a crush on the teacher.

“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.

“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.”

Hilary, of Northend Lane, Droxford, went on to teach PE in Farnborough before becoming head teacher at Chamberlayne School for 12 years.

He denies three counts of indecent assault between December 1977 and December 1979.