Paisley Daily Express


Sir in the dock accused of rendezvous with 13-year-old


A teacher is accused of having sex with an underage schoolboy - then telling him to delete messages about the tryst.

Andrew Polwarth, who taught for over a decade, also told the boy, who was just 13 at the time, that their rendezvous was “really fun” and that he was “a hottie” while also discussing sexual acts.

The 36- year- old urged the youngster, who is now 15, to wipe WhatsApp messages from his phone, saying their meeting and conversati­on afterwards should be a secret.

But he insists he had no idea the boy was only 13, claiming he thought he was 18 and only told him to wipe the chats because the teen hadn’t come out to his family yet.

And he has denied being a paedophile - insisting he is “not

at all interested in having sex with children”.

Polwarth and the youngster had their encounter at Polwarth’s home in Elderslie, on December 29, 2018, after they met through dating app Hornet.

The teacher, who worked in Saudi Arabia and South Korea, is currently on trial over the events at Paisley Sheriff Court.

Prosecutor­s claim he “did engage in sexual activity with” the boy, who is now 15, and claim he did “communicat­e indecently with him” by repeatedly sending messages “of a sexual and indecent nature”.

He denies a charge of having sex with “a child who had attained the age of 13 years but had not attained the age of 16 years” in breach of section 30 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.

And he denies breaching section 34( 1) of the same act by sending WhatsApp messages “of a sexual and indecent nature” to “a child who had attained the age of 13 years but had not attained the age of 16 years for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratificat­ion”.

Giving evidence in his own defence yesterday, Polwarth said the boy, who can’t be named, had his age set to 18 on the Hornet app.

The youngster claims he confessed his real age when they met, with Polwarth replying: “I wouldn’t usually do this with someone so young.”

But Polwarth insisted he had no idea the boy was so young - and said he was “devastated” when he found out he was only 13.

He explained: “Hornet is a gay dating app for 18-year-olds and up.

“He said he was in the last year of school, sixth year and was just studying and things.”

He said the fact that he was a teenage schoolboy, when he was a teacher, did not worry him.

But he said if he realised the youngster was just 13, he would not have gone through with their encounter and would have reported the boy’s profile on the dating app.

After they met in Polwarth’s home, they messaged each other through WhatsApp.

Polwarth wrote: “That was really fun, but it has to be super discreet and more like a one-off thing.

“You’re a hottie.”

The youngster replied: “Thanks. What we did today was great, thanks xxx.”

Polwarth then said: “You’re welcome. And we never did anything lol, I don’t know what you’re talking about. You just went a very long walk.

“Remember to clear all your chats with me.”

When asked why he’d told the child to clear the chats, he said the boy had lied to his family about meeting him as he had still to come out as gay, and added: “Some of the messages were quite sexual and I didn’t want his parents or his auntie to be reading them and catch him out.”

The court heard the police became involved because the boy confided in his ten-year-old cousin, who was so upset by what she’d been told she couldn’t sleep.

She disclosed the details to her mother and the police were called in, leading to an investigat­ion.

Polwarth had returned to South Korea, where he was working as a deputy head of academia at the time, when he learned of the police involvemen­t.

He said: “I was in complete shock at the time.

“I was devastated, absolutely devastated, to the words around what had just been said to me.

“I very much didn’t know what to do.” Polwarth maintains his innocence and the trial before Sheriff James Spy continues.

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