Teacher trial: ‘girl was grabbed and hit’

Graham School Teacher William Stuart approaching Scarborough Magistrates' Court.113733a
Graham School Teacher William Stuart approaching Scarborough Magistrates' Court.113733a

A SENIOR Scarborough teacher grabbed a teenage pupil, pushed her into coat pegs and hit her in the back after she refused to do as she was told, a court heard.

William Stuart, 47, of Stepney Road, who has denied assaulting the female student, was “out of control” during the incident, his alleged victim said.

During the first day of Stuart’s trial at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court yesterday, prosecutor Jessica Strange set out the Crown’s version of the incident, which took place during lunchtime at Graham School on March 21 this year.

She said both Stuart and the pupil had been in the school’s canteen, when the alleged victim refused his request to stop after he believed she had misbehaved.

“She walked away,” Miss Strange said. “He tried to block her path a number of times. He followed her into a corridor – by this stage he was very angry.

“He grabbed her by the arm from behind with such force that she fell to the ground. The complainant will say that he pulled her back up and pushed her into some coat pegs.

“Then, as she finally managed to get away, he hit her in the back.”

Miss Strange said the school had prevented the teenager from phoning her mother, adding that two eye-witnesses had been told by Stuart to change school statements when he disagreed with what they had written.

Giving evidence, the alleged victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said she had been left in pain, scared and crying.

She said: “I was calm, I wasn’t looking for an argument. I continued to walk away from Mr Stuart and up the stairs. He was coming up behind me quite fast. He blocked my path up the stairs.

“I was scared because the way he was shouting wasn’t like a teacher. He wasn’t collected and calm.

“I went near the doors near the changing room and Mr Stuart lunged out with his right hand and grabbed my right upper arm. It forced me to swing to my right and I hit the wall on the way round.”

The pupil claimed that after falling to the floor, Stuart pulled her to her feet and pushed her into some pegs.

She added: “It really hurt me,” before saying that after she swore at Stuart and pushed him, she ran down the corridor.

She then claimed to have seen Stuart and another teacher, David Thompson, talking frantically before Mr Thompson followed her into a classroom, shut the door and told her she was not allowed out.

“He could see I was getting distressed so eventually he let me out,” the student said.

After she left school, the alleged victim returned with her mother and had a meeting with headteacher Garry Hancock and a female deputy headteacher.

The girl returned to lessons later in the week but five days later when she and her mother became dissatisfied with the school’s response, she called police.

Ian Glen QC, representing Stuart, pointed out that the teenager had made no reference to his client allegedly hitting her as she fled when she had given her version of events to the court.

He also questioned her claim to have been a good pupil, pointing to a number of incidents on the girl’s behaviour record which stated she had been rude or disobeyed teachers.

“Why do you feel the need to be defiant to teachers?” Mr Glen asked the teenager. “You were running rings round him, changing direction.”

He also said the “very, very minor” injuries which the alleged victim claimed to have were not consistent with her evidence.

“You are telling lies and exaggerating grossly, aren’t you?” he said. “You were out of control with anger and defiance.”

The court also heard evidence from two eye-witnesses, who also cannot be identified.

The court heard the witnesses and the alleged victim were in contact on Facebook, although they were not close friends. There had been some discussion of the case on the social networking site.

Both said they had seen Stuart “corner” the girl and that she had been shoved on to coat hooks.

However, one of the witnesses said she had seen the alleged victim laughing during the incident and said the complainant threw a punch at Stuart.

Both witnesses also said that after falling to the ground, the alleged victim got up voluntarily.

The trial continues.