A NORTHUMBERLAND man has denied raping a teenage boy, telling the court they had a consensual relationship.
Former NHS worker Mark Watson said a chance meeting on a premium-rate gay phone line sparked a series of meetings.
And he claimed the alleged victim – who the prosecution say was just 15 at the time – showed his passport to prove he was over the age of consent.
Giving evidence at Newcastle Crown Court, Watson, 44, said he used the phone line to meet other gay men looking for sexual encounters. He claimed that after speaking with the youth on the chat line they arranged to meet at a Newcastle bus stop.
They drove to an alleyway near some deserted houses, Watson said, before performing sex acts on each other in Watson’s blue Mini.
He said the teenager had brought his passport with him as he had previously been told he “looked younger than he was”, and was at pains to point out his date of birth, showing he was 16.
Watson – who is divorced with two teenage children – told police when he was arrested that he thought the youth was 18. But in court he said he had been “confused” during the interview about the age of consent.
Watson told the court he met the teen several times for sex, sometimes taking him to his then home in Maple Drive, Widdrington, Northumberland.
But at one arranged meeting, the youth turned up with a friend who insisted on accompanying them, Watson said.
Watson claimed the pair wanted to use his home for their own sexual relationship, in which he was not involved.
On a second occasion when the two youths came to his home, Watson said they stole and drank a bottle of vodka belonging to his housemate and an argument broke out.
But he allowed the pair to stay overnight before driving them home. After that, Watson said, he didn’t see the second youth again, but kept in contact with the first until they drifted apart.
Watson, who gave his address to the court as Green Lane in Ashington but is now understood to be living in Blyth, denies charges of rape, sexual assault, grooming and downloading child pornography.
Asked if the allegation of rape was true, Watson replied: “No, that is not true whatsoever.”
And asked if he had any sex at all with the second teenager, he said: “None whatsoever.”
He also denied owning a stash of child pornography found on computers in the house he shared with a former partner when he was arrested last year in Gateshead.
He claimed the 31 movies and one indecent image found on a laptop hard drive were downloaded by an ex boyfriend.
Ian Brook, prosecuting, previously told the court Watson was a “sexual predator” who plied the boys with vodka then molested them.
He accused Watson of grooming the first teenager online before repeatedly attacking both him and his friend in 2004 – when they were both 15.
Watson says a consensual relationship with one teen happened in 2005, when he was 16.
The trial continues.