Home News Eton College teacher ‘made pupils freeze as he stroked their legs’

Eton College teacher ‘made pupils freeze as he stroked their legs’

Eton College teacher ‘made pupils freeze as he stroked their legs’

Eton College pupil was visited by geography teacher, 49, in his bedroom at night four times a week and found recording device hidden under his wardrobe, sex assault trial hears

  • Matthew Mowbray, 49, is accused of touching boys in their rooms late at night 
  • He was geography teacher at prestigious all-boys’ boarding school near Windsor
  • Divorced father denies sexual activity with children but has admitted voyeurism
  • Admits superimposing pupils’ faces onto naked bodies of children on computer
  • One boy told Reading Crown Court Mowbray would come to his room at night four times a week and stroke his leg
  • Claims he also found recording hidden under wardrobe on return to school  

Matthew Mowbray, 49, is pictured outside Reading Crown Court in Berkshire yesterday

A former Eton College teacher visited a schoolboy in his bedroom up to four times a week and would it sit on his bed gently stroking his leg for hours, a court has heard.

Matthew Mowbray, 49, is accused at Reading Crown Court of entering boys’ rooms late at night on the pretext of discussing schoolwork before touching them for his own ‘sexual gratification’.

The former geography teacher at the prestigious all-boys’ boarding school denies nine counts of sexual activity with a child against four boys and one girl over a period of several years.

The divorced father, who prosecutors said was ‘renowned for taking many photographs of the students’, has pleaded guilty to one count of voyeurism, downloading hundreds of indecent images of children.

He also admits superimposing pupils’ faces on to the naked bodies of unknown children on his computer.

Reading Crown Court heard how in one case Mowbray would visited a schoolboy in his bedroom up to four times a week, chatting for hours after lights out while sat on his bed and gently stroking his leg.

In a video interview, the boy told the court: ‘I was a light sleeper and lay in my bed overthinking stuff and I liked that I did not have to go to bed. He would come to my room quite a lot and he would speak to me for a really long time, it was two hours sometimes.’

Asked how often he would visit, the boy said: ‘For my first two years he came to my bedroom three to four times a week’.

‘As a young student I appreciated it, I felt special. I felt he was genuinely concerned about me and he was looking out for me. But as it went on I found it a chore, the consistency became irritating.

‘I was aware of other boys also being visited, I did not perceive it was abnormal, it seemed normal.

‘I was uncomfortable but it was something I was used too. You just want to be on his best side, I wanted his approval. He was a really sensitive guy. If I told him to go away he would get upset and I wanted to be on the right side of him.’

Mowbray is a former teacher at the prestigious all-boys' boarding school Eton College (above)

Mowbray is a former teacher at the prestigious all-boys’ boarding school Eton College (above)

The boy also recalled arriving back from a weekend at home to the school and finding a recording device under his wardrobe.

‘I thought somebody had been spying on me for some reason. I gave it to Mr Mowbray but at the back of my mind I thought it could have been him who put it there to check I was keeping to the rules, I thought he was trying to catch me out.

‘I thought it was really weird the way he handled it. He put UV gel on it, he thought whoever put it there would come back to get it. He said he would spray UV pen on students’ hands to see who had put it there, kind of like setting a trap. I thought it was such a weird thing to do.

‘At the time I thought I had done something wrong, I thought someone was trying to catch me out, I wanted the whole thing to go away. He told me not to tell anyone about it.’

The jury of six men and six women heard how the senior geography teacher, who was a keen hiker, had a ‘weird’ hobby of photographing Eton pupils. He was a teacher at the school for 25 years.

‘He had a hobby of photographing students all the time, I found it a bit weird,’ the former pupil said.

‘I remember one time we were in the swimming pool and he took a picture of us afterwards, it was just something I felt a bit weird about because we were in our swimming trunks.

‘He also took a photo of us underwater, he took photos of literally everything.’

Mowbray is accused at Reading Crown Court (pictured) of sexual activity with children

Mowbray is accused at Reading Crown Court (pictured) of sexual activity with children

Earlier in the court’s sitting, another alleged victim accused Mowbray of visiting his bedroom, saying he made physical contact on ‘five to six occasions’.

In a witness statement read to jurors by prosecutor John Price QC, the boy said: ‘He came into my room in the dark and sat on the bed beside me, the door closed after him and he sat and talked about general things.

‘While he was doing so he would gently put his hand down on my thigh and knee and rub his hand up and down my thigh over and over.

‘I felt really uncomfortable and just froze. The room was dark, the curtains were shut, and the door was closed. He was in the room for about seven minutes which felt like a long time in the dark with him stroking my leg.

‘The next time it happened in the same way … I felt really uncomfortable and this time I decided to turn on my bedside light.

‘But Mr Mowbray leaned over and turned it off again, saying something along the lines of ‘light is bad for your eyes and won’t help you get to sleep’. He stayed in the room in the dark for a while touching me and then said ‘good night’ and left.’

The boy said he ‘wanted to shout out’ to alert other pupils but ‘felt I couldn’t’.

Another boy said in a police interview played to the court: ‘Occasionally he would rest a hand on my hip, that was something I did find uncomfortable.

‘I wouldn’t say “get off me”, I would just shift. It was not uncommon for him to rest a hand on my knees or thigh, over the bed covers.’

The boy added: ‘I found his photographing everything a bit weird. He just took photographs all the time. It made me feel uncomfortable.’

Another alleged victim described in a police interview being ‘really shocked and embarrassed’ after Mowbray ‘groped my bum with basically quite a forceful squeeze action’, before trying to ‘laugh it off’.

Mowbray, of Locks Heath, Southampton, was dismissed from his role at the £40,000 per-year school, near Windsor, in Berkshire, following his arrest. He is on bail.

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

The voyeurism offence relates to a series of covertly filmed images showing a boy at the elite boarding school getting dressed.

Since 1945, five prime ministers have been educated at Eton, including Boris Johnson, while the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex also studied there.

The trial, before judge Heather Norton QC, which is listed for two weeks, continues.


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