14/08/2014 16:54 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Primary Head Teacher Cleared Of Fondling Teenage Boy

Schoolchildren road safety road sign with solar panel, Yorkshire. (Photo by: Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images)

A primary school headteacher has been cleared of fondling a teenage boy.

Andrew Howard, 46, was found not guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child under the age of 16.

Jurors at Winchester Crown Court took just 55 minutes to return their verdict.

Mr Howard, was suspended from his post at Velmead Junior School, in Fleet, Hampshire, following the allegations.

Prosecutors claimed Mr Howard fondled a teenage boy, told him he was gay and offered him hundreds of pounds if their 'relationship changed'.

They argued he showered the child with presents and outings and asked the schoolboy to say he loved him, the court heard.

But Mr Howard told jurors he believed the teenager had made the accusations to 'humiliate and punish' him.

He denied fondling the boy over his clothing in houses and in his car and said the incidents never took place.

Katherine Kelleher, defending, said in her final submissions: "Andrew Howard is not Oscar Wilde. He's not on trial for his homosexuality.

"What I suggest should be your common sense conclusion is that it has been used against him to bring a great man down by a very disturbed young man."

Mr Howard had a 'stratospheric' rise as a teacher and was 'married' to a job in which he had responsibilities for the welfare of children, Ms Kelleher said.

The boy who made the accusations did not attend any of the schools where Mr Howard, from Chineham, Hampshire, has taught.