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Elderly teacher admits child abuse accusations

PUBLISHED: 17:59 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:08 12 August 2010

AN ELDERLY teacher who had planned to fight allegations of child abuse suddenly decided to admit the charges last Friday. Bobby Howes, 72, of Wood Lodge Lane, West Wickham, pleaded guilty to four out of 24 charges at Croydon Crown Court. Six of the alle

AN ELDERLY teacher who had planned to fight allegations of child abuse suddenly decided to admit the charges last Friday.

Bobby Howes, 72, of Wood Lodge Lane, West Wickham, pleaded guilty to four out of 24 charges at Croydon Crown Court.

Six of the alleged victims had already given evidence before Howes requested to stop the trial and change his plea.

He now faces jail after admitting to assaults on a boy between June 1989 and June 1990 while on holiday on his boat, an assault on another boy between 1992 and 1994 while near a shower, indecency with a third boy on his boat between December 1996 and 1997 and the sexual touching of an 11-year-old girl during private lessons at his home between April and August last year. Judge Timothy Stow QC ruled that the remaining charges should stay on the file but were not to be proceeded with.

The mother of the girl aged 11 said she had had absolute trust in Howes until her daughter, one day at breakfast, revealed that Howes had made her sit on his lap and had put his hand down her knickers.

The mother said: "She said she didn't tell me earlier because she thought she would get into trouble."

When the trial was stopped, Howes made a formal statement in open court, through his lawyer, saying he regretted not having admitted his guilt, and he apologised to everyone concerned.

Prosecuting at the start of the trial, Anthony Wilckens told the jury that the original indictment contained allegations of assaults on a total of four boys and two girls over a period between 1987 and 2007, all of which he was denying.

Judge Stow said: "Prison is inevitable for offences of this kind."

Howes was remanded on bail until October 31, when he will be sentenced.

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