THE TRIAL of a former Southampton headteacher had to be halted after he broke down and sobbed in the dock yesterday afternoon.

Richard Hilary admitted to Winchester Crown Court that he had met his alleged victim alone at the Farley Mount beauty spot – but not until after she had turned 16.

She maintains he sexually abused her three times while she was 15, allegations the 63-year-old strongly refutes.

Churchgoer Hilary said the teenager approached him while he was a PE teacher at Winchester’s Montgomery of Alamein School and said: “You know I have always fancied you, you know I like older men”.

He said the pair met in the country car park in 1981 where there was “a minor bit of touching over the top of clothes, touching her breasts.”

Hilary told the jury that when they met at Farley Mount Hilary again the girl wanted to make love and started to take off her jeans, only for him to reply: “I’m sorry, I can’t do it, this has to stop.”

When first questioned by police, Hilary not only denied every aspect of the assault allegations, he asserted that he did not remember ever having a conversation with the woman who had brought them.

Yesterday he said this was because he was only focusing on the tight time frame police were questioning him about and his “head was in a muzz”.

“It’s now about trying to cleanse yourself and be totally honest to your wife, to whom you have been married for 37 years,” he wept.

Earlier in the trial the alleged victim claimed Hilary, who went on to become headteacher of Chamberlayne School, in Weston, had sexually assaulted her in Winchester’s Cathedral Close in December 1978.

She said on another day the then 28-year-old picked her up in his white Austin Allegro car, took her to Farley Mount and physically forced her to commit a sex act on him, which left her retching.

In response Hilary called her a “silly girl”.

“Almost the worst thing was that he started to laugh at me,” she said.

Defence barrister Alistair Wright challenged her sexual assault claims, asserting that she’d had a crush on Hilary and wanted to have a relationship with him.

“It didn’t happen, did it?” he asked. The alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, replied: “It did happen. I’m not the one living the lie.

“It’s so embarrassing to be here in public saying these personal things. It takes quite a lot of swallowing your pride to come and present what has happened. I thought it was my fault, I thought I was a silly girl.”

But prosecuting counsel Matthew Jewell told the jury the witness had been too young to consent to such sexual activities.

After working for four years at Montgomery of Alamein School, now Kings’, Hilary became head of PE at a school in Farnborough.

He was headteacher of Chamberlayne School for 12 years and has no previous convictions.

No other formal complaint was made against him during the teaching career, from which he has now retired. Hilary, of Northend Lane, Droxford, denies three counts of indecent assault between December 1977 and December 1979. Proceeding.