The girl said one of her friends had smeared icing from a sticky bun on a wall

Thursday September 15,2011
By Paul Jeeves

A TEACHER grabbed a “rude and defiant” schoolgirl and shoved her to the floor after she ignored his repeated requests to stop walking away from him, a court heard.

Science teacher William Stuart, 47, is alleged to have reacted “aggressively” to the 15-year-old after a gang of pupils smeared food over a canteen wall.

The girl, at the Graham School comprehensive in Scarborough, claimed she was thrust into coat pegs by the teacher before being pushed to the floor.

She complained to her mother and the incident was reported to police five days later. Married department head Stuart, who has an unblemished 22-year teaching career spanning five schools, was arrested and charged with common assault.

Yesterday Scarborough Magistrates’ Court heard the schoolgirl claim she had been left with reddening to her back and arm after the altercation with the teacher last March – although there was no evidence of this when she was examined by police.

Prosecutor Jessica Strange accepted that the pupil’s friends had smeared food on a wall, but said that because the girl insisted she had not been involved she ignored the teacher’s request to remain in the canteen.

We were facing each other and he grabbed my shoulders and pushed me backwards into coat pegs. The girl Miss Strange said: “The defendant followed her into a corridor. By this stage he was very angry, and grabbed her by the arm from behind with such force she fell to the floor.

“She says he pulled her back up and pushed her backwards into coat pegs. She managed to get away from the pegs, but he hit her again in the back before she ran away.”

Giving evidence via videolink, the girl, who cannot be identified because of her age, said one of her friends had smeared icing from a sticky bun on a wall, but as they made to leave the teacher shouted: “Get back into the hall you three.” The pupil, who the court heard has a lengthy record of disobedience, added: “I turned round and said, ‘No, I’m not coming back because I’m not involved’ and I walked away.

“He was already really angry and really loud. Mr Stuart told my friends to go, it was clear he wanted to approach me. He said, ‘How dare you walk away from me’. I continued to walk away from him and went up some stairs. He was coming up behind me quite fast, he was still angry and shouting. He came up beside me, put his arm on the banister and wouldn’t let me get past.”

She added: “I was scared because he wasn’t shouting like a teacher, collected and calm, trying to get the situation under control. He was out of control.

“I got up the stairs ahead of him and went along a corridor, then he lunged at me with his hand, grabbed my upper right arm and pulled me towards him. I spun round, hit a wall and fell down.

“He then grabbed my arm again and forced me to my feet. It wasn’t to help me to my feet, it was to pull me up to his level and continue shouting at me. He used force and aggression.

“We were facing each other and he grabbed my shoulders and pushed me backwards into coat pegs. It really hurt my back when I hit the pegs.”

Defending, Ian Glen QC, accused the girl of having a reputation for being “rude and defiant” to school staff. School logs had recorded several incidents of her being rude to teachers.

Stuart denies assault and the trial continues.

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