The wife of a former Coutts bank manager today vowed to stand by him as he appeared in court accused of sex offences against men and boys as young as 14.
Charles Howeson, 67, was regional head of the Queen’s bank after serving as a Royal Navy officer, where Her Majesty appointed him as one of her Royal Navy Honorary Captains.
Today his wife Emma came with him to Plymouth Magistrates Court after he was charged with sex offences against 10 teenage boys and young men dating back 32 years.
Mr Howeson is accused of committing the offences between 1985 and 1994 including one alleged sex attack on board a Royal Navy ship – HMS Cleopatra.
Former Coutts bank manager Charles Howeson leaves court with his wife Emma today after he appeared in court accused sex offences against men and boys as young as 14
He is accused of 12 counts of indecent assault, one of attempted buggery of a boy aged between 14 and 15 and two counts of buggery without consent on a male aged over 16.
Wearing a smart blue suit Howeson, of Plymouth, Devon only spoke to confirm his name and thanked magistrates.
After the brief hearing today his wife Emma released a statement in passionate defence of her husband.
After the brief hearing today his wife Emma released a statement in passionate defence of her husband
She said: ‘In 38 years of marriage and after four children, I have never once doubted the honesty of my husband nor do I believe that he would be capable of such acts as he has been accused of.
‘Charles strenuously refutes the allegations and I will stand by and support him during his forthcoming trial.
‘My husband is a man who has served his country and his community selflessly, with courage and with integrity and he deserves better than this, especially now that his health is failing.
‘We have faith in the English judicial system and believe that justice will be done and Charles will be acquitted.
‘The lives of Charles, me and our children have been torn apart over the last year, but we know he is innocent and we will support him to the last.’
Howeson who was raised in Mevagissey in Cornwall, joined the Royal Navy in 1967 before making his fortune as a property developer and launching his long career in the public, private and voluntary sector.
He is vice president for life of the Plymouth Drake Foundation, a charity he founded in 2008 to help communities in the city.
In creating the foundation, from which he stepped down in 2012, Howeson established a so-called ‘charity of charities’ designed to support individuals and groups through grants.
Howeson was released on unconditional bail to appear at Plymouth Crown Court on May 15.