By Claire Hayhurst, PA
The brother of This Morning host Phillip Schofield wept as he told a court how he phoned his brother and told him he was “on the verge” of taking his own life.
Timothy Schofield, 54, is on trial at Exeter Crown Court charged with 11 sexual offences involving a child between October 2016 and October 2019, including two of sexual activity with a child.
Schofield, a civilian police worker from Bath, is said to have told his TV star brother about some of the alleged offending in September 2021.
When asked by his barrister Peter Binder whether he had performed sexual acts on the teenager, Schofield replied: “Absolutely not.”
Schofield told the jury he had watched pornography with the boy, who he insisted was aged over 16 at that time, and they had masturbated while sat apart.
Giving evidence on Thursday, the defendant told the jury he had been gay his “entire life” but had kept it “completely secret and hidden from everybody”.
He described this as “incredibly difficult” and told the court he had struggled with mental health problems for years.
The defendant wept as he was asked about phoning his famous brother before driving to his home in London in September 2021.
Peter Binder, representing Schofield, asked him: “Phillip described you as being in an extreme state of agitation?”
Schofield replied: “Yes. I remember sitting in a field and making the phone call to him.”
Mr Binder asked: “You told him you were on the verge of killing yourself?”
Schofield wept as he said: “That’s correct. I was so alone.”
On Wednesday, the court heard a written statement by Phillip Schofield, which described the phone call and his brother coming to his home in London.
Mr Schofield described how they spent several hours talking, including eating a meal, before he went to do the washing-up.
He told how his brother said “You are going to hate me for what I am about to say”, with him assuring him there was nothing he could say that would do that.
Mr Schofield said in the statement: “Then he said that he and (the boy) had time together and that last year they had watched porn … and (masturbated)”.
“I turned and said, ‘What did you just say?’ He said it was last year and we were alone together. Tim said it was just this once. I told him it should never happen again. He then started to tell me about (the boy’s) body.
“I said, ‘F***, stop’. I shouted at Tim that he had to stop. I didn’t want to know any of the details but he made it sound like a one-off.
“I said, ‘I don’t want you to tell me any more’. I said, ‘You’ve got to stop, just never do it again. Regardless how that happened, it must never happen again’.”
During cross-examination by Robin Shellard, the defendant told the court the teenager was “old enough” to choose to watch pornography with him.
Schofield told the jury: “It was a consensual thing after the age of 16. He never in any way said no at all.”
He admitted searching for terms on a legal pornography website including “young boy teen sex” and “gay teen torrents” but insisted he believed this would return results showing men aged between 18 and their early twenties.
The defendant was asked about his arrest in December 2021 and police interviews in which he replied “no comment” to questions.
Schofield told the jury: “I was in such an awful place and I just was trying to get my head around what had been said, what I had been accused of. I had just been arrested, I was in a police cell.”
When asked if he was guilty of the charges, he replied: “I am not guilty of these charges and that’s why I have stuck to my guns the whole way through and pleaded not guilty the whole way through.
“There’s no way I am going to plead guilty to something I haven’t done.”
The court previously heard that the 54-year-old carried out the alleged attacks while working for Avon and Somerset Police as an IT technician.
Schofield, of Bath, denies three counts of causing a child to watch sexual activity, three of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, three of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and two of sexual activity with a child.
Phillip Schofield did not appear on ITV’s This Morning on Wednesday. The studio said he is taking “pre-planned leave” this week.
The trial continues.