A DRIVING instructor accused of groping five of his female students has been standing trial.

Derek Booth, 49, of Coed Mor, Pen-y-ffordd near Holywell, denies 10 counts of sexual assault and one count of attempting to encourage a young female to engage in sexual activity.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between June 2016 and February 2018, when Booth was employed at a driving school in Ellesmere Port.

They range from touching students’ thighs to kissing on the mouth and moving a student’s hand for her to touch his penis, Chester Crown Court heard.

Booth was arrested in early 2018, with police then contacting his driving school students to ask if Booth had been inappropriate with them.

One witness, speaking on day two of the trial and being questioned by prosecutor Anna Price, said she had initially found Booth to be “friendly and nice, but awkward” and a “bit strange”.

But during the driving lessons, the teenager felt “uncomfortable” when Booth asked about her sex life with her partner.

She added Booth would grab her inner thigh when telling her how well she was doing, and this had happened “quite a few times”, and his hand would be on her thigh for “a few seconds”.

Cross-examined by Booth’s defence barrister Nicholas Williams, the witness said Booth came across as “a bit of a weirdo” but was “a good driving instructor” and had about 16 lessons with him.

She added: “From my point of view it was never anything more than he was the driving instructor, I was the student.

“I think he wanted to be more than just friends.”

Another witness said Booth knew she was nervous and shy, but he would brush his hand by her calf to make her jump, when she was in the passenger seat.

She also said Booth would touch her on the thigh, just above the knee. One time she said it was to “comfort” her but it was a bit longer, while the other occasions he would tap her above the knee.

This would coincide with Booth telling her to lift her leg off the clutch pedal.

The trial continues