Former teacher accused of grooming and molesting boy with his partner
A former teacher at a remedial school molested an 11-year-old boy at a school camp and spent years grooming him with his boyfriend, a court has heard.
Richard Alston, 70, met the alleged victim while working as a teacher at Cavendish School in Greenford, Middlesex, in the late 1970s.
But after starting to touch the youngster inappropriately on school grounds, Alston invited him up to the flat he shared with his partner, Peter Righton.
Southwark Crown Court in London heard that Alston began molesting the youngster after he fell off a climbing frame in the play area of the school, under the pretence of comforting him.
Prosecutor Peter Clement said: "If he said anything, it could be explained away - 'I was doing nothing but comforting the boy who had just fallen'.
"If he didn't say anything then that boy was susceptible to more serious sexual conduct."
Mr Clement said that Alston touched the boy over his clothing to "gauge" his reaction.
He added: "The Crown suggest that at the first indecent assault the defendant realised that there was little or no prospect of complaint and he exploited that."
Two further indecent assaults are said to have taken place during a school camp, and allegedly involved Alston creeping into the complainant's tent and touching him while swimming in a pond.
Mr Clement told the court that one of the allegations was that Alston had gone into the 11-year-old's tent and slid his hand into his sleeping bag and into his pyjamas, under the pretence of wishing him goodnight after "story time".
Alston, who as a teacher was in a position of trust, is alleged to have started grooming the boy after realising that the youngster would deliver milk to his address as part of his milk round.
"It is here that the defendant and his then partner further groomed and acted indecently towards that boy," said Mr Clement.
Jurors heard that they would tip the youngster 75p, and regularly started inviting him up to their flat, offering him beer, cigarettes and other gifts.
On one occasion Righton - now deceased - gave the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a pair of silk swimming trunks, which he asked him to wear and "parade" in front of himself and Alston.
Mr Clement said: "He did as he was asked. It was a purposefully quasi-sexual act."
Other allegations state that Alston and Righton - sometimes in the presence of their friend Charles Napier - would play pornographic films at their flat and watch the youngster's reaction, occasionally asking him to perform sex acts on them as he did so.
Jurors were told that while the youngster saw the two adults as "friends", their motivation was to indecently assault him.
"He regarded both adults as friends who paid him attention and gave him treats.
"By this point, the defendant, together with his partner, had something of a hold over this boy," said Mr Clement.
Although the youngster said nothing of the alleged abuse at the time, when he was 16 he confronted Righton about what he had been subjected to, jurors were told.
Mr Clement said: "Peter Righton dismissed this complaint and told him he had connections to powerful people, that the boy had no evidence and that no-one would believe him.
"And that worked because it meant that he did not say anything for many, many years."
Alston, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, denies six counts of indecent assault, and four counts of indecency with a child, in the late 1970s.
Giving evidence, the complainant described Alston and Righton as "really nice guys".
When asked why he had not said anything after the first incident in the playground, he replied: "I was embarrassed. I didn't think I would be believed - all series of emotions, really."
The alleged victim also told jurors that he had introduced other boys to Alston and Righton.
Mr Clement asked if he went to the flat alone.
The witness replied: "I wasn't always alone, no, I introduced other boys to Peter and Richard, they kept asking if I knew any friends."
Recalling how the couple had given him 75p tips for delivering milk, he added: "Back in the '70s, at 11 years old, that was a lot of money. That was a lot of money in those days."
Asked about his visits to the flat, the complainant said: "I was fine with going to their house. They seemed like really nice guys.
"In a word I wouldn't want for anything, I could get whatever I liked - toys, sweets, anything, money - they were always very generous."