Former choirboy tells court how alleged abuse from Havant church choir member ‘messed his life up’

A FORMER choirboy has told a court how a fellow adult choir member who allegedly abused him in a car more than three decades ago ‘messed his life up’.

By millie.salkeld1
Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 11:01 am

Stuart Eager of Lady Lane, Blunsdon, Swindon, has denied three counts of indecent assault on a boy aged 11 to 12 years old.

A police video interview from 2017 played to Portsmouth Crown Court showed the victim break down in tears as he described the alleged abuse that had taken place at Budds Farm on the way home from choir practice from a church in Havant.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: ‘We used to go so we could drive his car. We would sit on his lap and do a couple of laps around.

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Stuart Eager outside Portsmouth Crown Court (020119-1)

‘He said “do you want to have a go at doing the gears?”. I started off trying to change from first to second gear.

‘He showed me again and I still couldn’t get it. He said let me show you. Next thing I knew his hand was in my pants. [He was] saying go from first to second.’

He added: ‘‘I just remember him saying I could not tell anyone because I could get in trouble for letting him touch me.’

Prosecutor Tom Horder said: ‘[This] was something he held in for 30 years. Something he tried to blank out. Something he tried to run away from.’

The jury heard the 70-year-old had also been previously convicted over similar offences of abusing young boys at a church in Wymering in the 1980s.

The victim, who also appeared in the court yesterday behind a screen to be cross-examined, said he had found out about Eager’s conviction from a newspaper article his parents were reading at the time.

Defending, Nadia Chbat questioned the victim’s memory of incidents, places and peoples over the last few decades and talked about mental health problems he had faced including periods in hospital, self harm and suicide attempts.

She also mentioned an incident where the vicar of the church had visited the victim’s home and asked if anything ‘inappropriate’ had happened with Eager.

Ms Chbat said: ‘You said no nothing has happened and I suggest that was true.’

The victim was also asked why he had never reported the abuse before. He replied: ‘I didn’t see the point. I didn’t see how it affected me.

‘I believed I allowed it to happen.’