Former Exmouth mayor John Humphreys ‘shocked and flabbergasted’ by sex abuse allegations made by boys he showed kindness to

Former Exmouth mayor John Humphreys has told a jury he was ‘shocked and flabbergasted’ two males he had shown kindness to had accused him of sexually abusing them as boys.

About Author Becca Gliddon 

Humphreys, aged 59, of Hartley Road, Exmouth, on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of historic sex offences against two underage boys, denies ten charges against him, alleged to have taken place between 1990 and 2002.

Humphreys, who came out as gay aged 21, denied ever having any sexual activity with either of the boys, telling the court he only liked men his own age or older.

He told the court the allegations made by the males – now adults – were ‘vindictive and wicked’.

Humphreys said: “To have to force someone to do something they don’t want to do – where is the joy in that?”

He added: “I did not do it, and will not.”

Humphreys said he had never touched the first complainant, or had sex with him.

He said he first saw the male outside public toilets in St Andrews Road, Exmouth, where they said ‘hello’.

Humphreys said in the past he had met men in public toilets in Exmouth, but not on that occasion.

He told the jury he saw the male again outside the toilets in St Andrews Road on a sperate occasion, was not attracted to him, and gave him a lift home because he seemed ‘stressed’.

Humphreys told the court: “He was talking about the men in the toilet and how awful it was.

“He was distressed and I offered him a lift to drive him home. He said he was 18 years old and we talked about the gay scene.”

Humphreys told the court he pointed out his Salterton Road home to the male as they drove past the flat in the defendant’s work van.

On another occasion, Humphreys found the male hanging around outside his flat in a ‘distressed’ state.

Humphreys said: “He was all of a dither. He just wasn’t right. I could see something wasn’t right. I invited him in for a cup of tea.

“I think he was coming to terms with his sexuality. I suggested he talk to someone; there are places in Exeter. He calmed down and then he left.

“I felt sorry for the man but I didn’t want to get too involved.”

Humphreys told the court he had ‘never’ had sexual contact with a second male who accused him of sexual touching while he was a teenager on school work experience with the defendant’s gardening firm.

He told the jury he was ‘shocked and flabbergasted’ by the ‘evil, wicked lies’, saying the allegations were ‘vindictive’.

Humphreys told the court he had only ever encouraged the second male to forge a successful career through offering him employment – once paying £100 for him to enroll in a horticulture course at college.

“That was to give encouragement and a good start in life,” he told the jury.

“People have always been kind to me and I would always try and do the same throughout my life. Kindness breeds kindness.”

Humphreys has denied two charges of indecent assault and three counts of a sex assault on a boy aged 12 to 13 between 1990 and 1991.

He has also pleaded not guilty to five further counts of indecent assault of a second boy aged 14 to 15 between 1999 and 2002.

The trial continues.