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.