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BA pilot 'sought out underage boys'

A British Airways pilot used his job flying passengers around the world to meet underage boys and lavish them with money and gifts, a court heard today.

Bartle Frere, 50, is accused of "arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence" against boys in India, as well as abusing two boys in the UK.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard detectives uncovered Frere's regular social network contact over six years with teenage boys in the sub-continent after seizing a computer at his former home in Dorset in November last year.

The pilot is alleged to have used a false name to book hotel rooms for meetings with the boys and lavished them with money and gifts, such as iPhones.

Prosecutor Elisabeth Bussey-Jones read to the jury some of the messages Frere had sent the boys in India.

"I want a hug and have a bath with you and cuddle you in bed," the defendant wrote.

"Have you found any other boys you can bring to my hotel?

"Will you find me a boy?"

On one occasion an Indian boy tells the pilot that he has a "surprise" for him.

Frere replies: "I cannot wait to discover your surprise."

The 50-year-old also wrote: "I am really looking forward to seeing you on Friday and coming to the church and meeting you and then you must come to my hotel and have a bath.

"I love you and want to be with you and feeling close to you once more."

On another occasion Frere apologised for being a "little harsh when we parted" and then had a conversation about the 500 Rupees he had given the boy.

Miss Bussey-Jones said Frere told a second teenager: "Please send me some sexy photos - I want to see all of you. I love you, you look really hot."

Summarising the chat, the prosecutor said: "The conversations indicate Mr Frere was meeting these boys during the course of his role as a British Airways pilot and flying to various locations, including India."

Miss Bussey-Jones explained to the jury that police found photographs on Frere's mobile phone of a guest book for an Indian hotel.

It showed he had made a reservation under the name of "John Smith" for himself and two others.

"The Crown would suggest this is some sort of trophy and capturing an image of a meeting that has taken place," she said.

"In other words we cannot say what went on in the hotel room but we would invite you to make inferences."

The court heard Frere was arrested on November 10 last year when he returned to the UK from taking a BA flight to Bangkok.

Shortly before landing in Thailand he had typed into search engines on his mobile phone "Where do you pick up underage boys in Bangkok?", the court was told.

Frere, of Netherfield House, Marcham, Abingdon, Oxfordshire denies a total of 25 sex charges.

He is accused of five offences of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, which relates to his alleged conduct with boys in India.

Against the first alleged victim in the UK, he is charged with five counts of indecent assault; one count of indecency with a child and two charges of buggery.

Frere faces accusations against a second UK victim. He is charged with one count of sexual activity with a child and one charge of attempting to record a person doing a private act.

The defendant also faces six charges of possessing indecent photographs of a child and four charges of making indecent photographs of a child.

The court heard that after his arrest inquiries led police to the first alleged British victim - a man now in his mid-20s.

"He was to become visibly distressed when he was speaking to the officers and he indicated that Bartle Frere had carried out sexual offences upon him when he was a young boy, aged around 12 to 14," Miss Bussey-Jones said.

The court heard that Frere became friends with the boy, would take him out on trips and would be paid for doing odd jobs at Frere's home.

"He said he would be paid in cash and given lavish gifts," she said.

The prosecutor then outlined the offences Frere is alleged to have committed against the boy.

"He describes Mr Frere being kindly towards him and not putting pressure on him," Miss Bussey-Jones said.

"The Crown would say there is an age between them and there is the use of gifts to induce particular behaviour."

The boy never told anyone about the alleged abuse - including his own family - until he gave a statement to the police.

When quizzed by detectives Frere said he knew the boy and that he used to visit his home and do odd jobs around the house but denied any sexual activity had taken place between them.

The father of the second complainant came forward reading newspaper reports of Frere's arrest and asking his son about him.

The court heard that the boy also did odd jobs around Frere's home and would go with him to fly a model aeroplane.

"When he saw the newspaper article he spoke to his son to find out if there was anything he should know about," Miss Bussey-Jones said.

"The father was told his son said they had shared 'special cuddles'. As a result of that social services and the police were called and arrangements were made for a video interview to take place."

The boy, who was then 12, alleged that while at Frere's house last year the defendant had touched him inappropriately.

Police also found on Frere's computer 15 movies that he is alleged to have recorded of the boy.

"The Crown say this is an attempt by Mr Frere to film the boy surreptitiously - doing it for his own benefit," Miss Bussey-Jones told the jury of three men and nine women.

The trial continues.

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