A Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a young boy nearly 40 years ago has strenuously denied the allegations.

Father Michael Higginbottom told a jury that none of the allegations were true.

He also told Liverpool Crown Court that he did not even remember the alleged victim, who is now in his 50s.

The complainant has claimed that while he was a pupil at St Joseph鈥檚 College, a seminary for prospective priests, in Upholland, near Ormskirk, Higginbottom repeatedly seriously sexually assaulted him.

Fr Higginbottom, now aged 74, of West Farm Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, denies eight offences - four of buggery and four of indecent assault - alleged to have taken place between September 1978 and March 20, 1979.

David Temkin, prosecuting, has claimed that for the alleged victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, the college was the venue for 鈥榤ental, physical and sexual abuse鈥?

The man claims it began just days after he started at the college when he was 12 or 13 and it ended when he deliberately stole a watch so that he would be expelled.

It is suggested by the priest鈥檚 legal team that he has made the allegations to obtain financial compensation, which he has denied.

Questioned by his barrister Adam Birkby, Higginbottom has told the jury of six men and six women, that he did not know the alleged victim and had not sexually abused him in any way.

He also disputed the man鈥檚 claims that he used a strap and cane on him as punishment.

He did agree he had used a Van de Graaff generator, used to demonstrate electrostatics, and gave pupils a mild electric shock but said it always made them laugh.

(Proceeding)