Havant choir member says young boy may have sat on his lap in back-road ‘driving lesson’ revealed in diary

A CHOIR member whose diary says he gave a young chorister a back-road ‘driving lesson’ has branded allegations the encounter was sexual ‘preposterous’ – but told a jury the boy may have been sitting on his lap at the time.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 11:24 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 11:28 am
Stuart Eager outside Portsmouth Crown Court

Stuart Eager hit out at the claim yesterday as he reappeared on trial at Portsmouth Crown Court after denying three counts of indecent assault on a boy aged 11 or 12. 

Read aloud to the jury, a 1980s entry in the book of the 70-year-old from Lady Lane, Blunsdon, Swindon, said in inverted commas he gave one of his choristers a ‘driving lesson’ on the way to drop him home after a wedding in Havant. 

Questioned by Nadia Chbat, defending, Eager said the note referred to an occasion he let a young boy ‘steer the car’ in a quiet road ‘parallel’ to the motorway. 

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

‘I think he must’ve been the only one who required a lift home that day,’ Eager said. 

‘I would have given him a chance to steer the wheel but there would not have been any indecency or impropriety.’ 

He added: ‘He was steering leaning across from the passenger side, or was sitting on my lap to do so. 

‘It is not impossible it would’ve been steering on my lap.’ 

Faced with an allegation the encounter gave Eager the chance to touch the boy inappropriately, he said: ‘That’s preposterous. It never occurred to me to do a thing like that and it never would.’

Extracts read from Eager’s diary retold multiple occasions when he gave lifts to young choristers and took them on ‘outings’, but he said the instance would have been the ‘first and only time’ he let one steer his car. 

Entries also contained day-to-day notes relating to Eager’s health, chores he had completed at his flat and various musical events he attended. 

As previously reported, a 2017 police interview played in court showed the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons,  break down describing how Eager allegedly abused him at Budds Farm, Havant on the way home from choir practice. 

But Eager yesterday said he had ‘never heard of the place’ until he ‘saw [the victim’s] statement’. 

(Proceeding)