'Victim had schoolboy crush on Darwen youth worker'

Christopher Midgley

Christopher Midgley

First published in Darwen Blackburn Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A BOY has told a jury that he was 14 when a member of staff at his school took him for drives in his car, on each occasion kissing and cuddling him.

Christopher Midgley, project worker at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, denies four charges of sexual activity with a child and four charges of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.

Preston Crown Court heard the boy was a pupil at the school at the time of the alleged offences.

Prosecutors said Midgley, of Brookside, Coppull, near Chorley, com- mitted a ‘gross breach of trust’ when he began the ‘inappropriate relationship’ with the pupil.

The boy, giving evidence, told the court he was 14 when he first met Midgley.

The accused was a youth worker, who delivered courses in personal and social health at the school.

He said: “We would meet at school three or four times a week.

“We got on well.

“If I had any problems I would go to him for advice.”

The court heard that a mutual friend of the two passed on Midgley’s contact details to the schoolboy after he admitted ‘having a crush’ on him.

The pair began to communicate outside of school via the MSN messenger service and later made arrangements to meet.

He said: “We agreed to meet up, I can’t remember who instigated it.

“We met up close to the school site and sat in his car for about 15 or 20 minutes.

“I didn’t have any concerns. After talking we kissed and held hands and then he drove me home.”

The court heard such meetings continued for several months. Each time Midgley would drive to various locations and talk before kissing and hugging.

The police were called after the boy’s mother became aware of the relationship.

The prosecution also told the jury that it was irrelevant the victim consented to these acts as under the law a child under the age of 16 cannot consent to sexual activity with an adult.

In police interviews, Midgley said that he had told the boy they could be no more than friends.

The defence claims that despite being based at the school, Midgley was not in a position of trust.

(Proceeding)

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