Eton teacher accused of  touching pupils was warned about behaviour by a colleague, court hears 

A teacher at Eton College, accused of sexually touching pupils during regular nocturnal visits, was warned by another member of staff about his behaviour, a court has heard.

Matthew Mowbray, 49, has admitted downloading hundreds of indecent images of children and superimposing snaps of his students onto naked bodies.

But the divorced father denies nine counts of sexual activity with a child against four boys and one girl over a period of several years.

The jury at Reading Crown Court was told how Mowbray would make frequent visits to the pupils’ bedrooms when they were in bed at night after lights out.

Prosecutor John Price QC said during the nocturnal visits Mr Mowbray would purport to engage them in conversation about college matters and would touch and stroke them through the bed covers for his own "sexual gratification".

Mr Mowbray had even been warned about being alone in a boy’s room at night by one of the college Dames, who help look after the children, the court was told.

Mr Price went on: "If he was prepared to take such risks, with the obvious potential for great harm to his own career and reputation, continuing to do so even in the face of explicit advice from a colleague that he should desist, one is entitled to ask what motivated him to do so?

"Why was it he could not bring himself to stop?"

Mowbray has admitted six counts of making indecent images of children and one count of voyeurism, jurors heard.

The alleged offences took place at Eton College

The charges relate to hundreds of indecent pictures found downloaded onto his computer during police investigations, some of which had been digitally altered to include the faces of boys.

Mr Price said: "On his college computer were found indecent images of children, where an unremarkable photograph of a college student had been combined with that of an unknown child taken from the internet and of an indecent kind.

"For example, the head taken from a photograph of a college student might be combined with the naked body of an unknown child taken from the internet." 

Mr Price went on: "The prosecution submits that evidence of this activity by Mr Mowbray, proves beyond doubt what was his concealed and true purpose when touching the four boys."

"These photographs prove not merely that he had a sexual interest in children generally, but in these children – boys whom he taught and for whose care he was responsible."

In a statement, one pupil who cannot be named for legal reasons, recalled a particular visit. He said: "I had got slightly behind in my work, not majorly. At around 10pm, he came into my room while the lights were off and I was wearing just pants – boxers – and he sat on the middle of my bed.

"He was in the room for about 15 minutes and he was comforting me by stroking my arm quite lightly and then he put his head on my arm. He basically lay down on me without putting his legs up."

Mr Price said: "The nature of these touchings was not overtly sexual. They are outwardly of a kind whereby they might have been sexual, but equally they might not.

"We say this was deliberate. He was cloaking his acts with ambivalence. As was fully intended by Matthew Mobray and was necessary for his own protection, the way he went about it engendered doubt and hesitation in the mind of the child."

It was understood that Mr Mowbray had taught at Eton College for at least 20 years before his dismissal following his arrest by police  

Mr Mowbray, denies nine "contact" offences of sexual activity with a child involving four Eton schoolboys and a young girl who did not attend the school.

The case continues.

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