A PRIMARY school headmaster has been jailed for three and a half years for sexually molesting a young boy.

Paul Melville, who was also a church choirmaster and organist, was convicted by a Liverpool Crown Court jury of three offences of indecent assault and three of gross indecency with the child who was aged between 12 and 15.

He was ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders Register for life and also banned from working with children indefinitely.

The offences, which took place between March 7, 1986 and March 8, 1990, only came to light last year when the victim feared that Melville might abuse other youngsters and told the police, said David Geey, prosecuting.

Melville, 52, was suspended from his post at St Paul's school in Leigh after the allegations were made. The offences were not connected to the school.

The court heard that he was a pillar of the community who had also been a choirmaster and organist at local churches including St James The Great in Haydock. Among those who gave character references for him was the Rev Paul Nener, vicar of Tuebrook, Liverpool.

Melville, of Bluebell Avenue, Haydock, who has no previous convictions, denied all the charges and claimed that the victim had been attention seeking and had also hoped to gain financially.