A TEACHER accused of eight counts of child sexual abuse has appeared in court to formally deny the charges.

Timothy Eastwell, of Woodcote Road, Leigh, made an appearance at Basildon Crown Court this morning.

Eastwell, a teacher in Basildon, is charged with six counts of sexual assault by touching a child.

He was also charged with one count of inciting a boy to engage in sexual activity and one count of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

The 57-year-old appeared in the dock wearing a navy blue suit and white shirt and spoke only to confirm his name and age and to deny all charges.

Eastwell was initially arrested by officers on suspicion of sexual grooming on Tuesday, June 26, being released on bail.

In August, he was re-arrested on suspicion of two counts of sexual activity involving a child and two counts of sexual assault on a child and was re-bailed in September and October before he was eventually charged on October 29.

A trial date was set for July 1 at Basildon Crown Court before judge John Lodge.

Eastwell was released on conditional bail.

He will next appear at the same court on May 17 for a further case management hearing.