Thursday, 19 July 2018

Teacher accused of abusing two girls

A FORMER headteacher of Woodcote Primary School sexually abused children and downloaded child pornography, a court heard

A FORMER headteacher of Woodcote Primary School sexually abused children and downloaded child pornography, a court heard.

Christopher Field is accused of grooming a girl aged under 13 and touching her inappropriately on multiple occasions between September 2010 and July 2011. At the time, he was working at the school.

During one incident he is alleged to have forced her to touch him in an intimate area before kissing her on the lips.

Field, who was previously head of Goring Primary School, is also accused of sexually touching a second girl aged under 13 between September and November 2012 and of downloading 13 pornographic videos featuring children under the age of 17 between August and December that year.

Field, 47, of Green Lane, Chieveley, denies three counts of sexual assault on a child, another of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and a fifth of making indecent images of children.

On Wednesday, a jury at Oxford Crown Court was told the allegations came to light when the first girl told her father in September 2014.

By that stage, Field had been appointed headteacher of Kennet Valley Primary School in Calcot.

The girl’s father alerted police, who arrested Field at his home and removed his computer.

Rebecca Austin, prosecuting, said Field claimed during a police interview that they would find no inappropriate material on his hard drive.

However, experts found the 13 movie files in the “recycle bin” on his desktop.

The jury was played a video of the first girl being interviewed by police in 2014.

She told officers the first contact between her and Field was hugs and cuddles, which she did not consider unusual.

She said he gave her gifts, including a puppet in the shape of a gorilla which had come from the primary school’s lost property.

She could not recall exactly when the abuse began or ended but during such occasions he would call her his “special girl” and tell her to keep it secret.

She said she initially considered Field her “boyfriend” and enjoyed the attention but later began to feel uncomfortable about the situation.

On one occasion, she claimed, another person walked into the room while they were in a compromising position and he shoved her aside, knocking her into a cabinet. She said she was clothed and the other person didn’t realise what was going on.

She said: “I got really embarrassed because I didn’t know why he’d just done that.”

Giving evidence to the jury by video link, the girl said: “I remember he was really shocked. I could feel he was panicking, like he’d been caught out or something.”

She said the incident in which he made her touch him was “disgusting” and ended quickly because he saw she was unhappy. He asked for a kiss on the lips afterwards and she agreed but said it felt “awkward”.

She told officers: “That was the day I realised it was really, really wrong because it shocked me. It had happened so many times that I can’t remember if that was the last [incident].”

The girl said Field once asked her to visit him at the school after it shut for the evening but she declined.

She said she didn’t fully appreciate what Field had been doing until some years after it ended.

She eventually stopped going to secondary school, developed symptoms of an eating disorder and began self-harming and drinking vodka “pretty much every day”.

The girl told her father after she returned home from meeting a friend in a distraught state.

She said: “I didn’t really want the police to know because obviously I was really upset about it. In the end we were up until about 5am trying to get it out of me.”

She said before the alleged incidents she was “really happy” but was “a lot different now”.

Sally-Anne Hales QC, for Field, asked the girl whether the kiss was the final incident that took place.

She replied: “I really don’t know but it’s certainly the most memorable one. When I think about everything that happened, that’s the first thing I think of.”

Ms Hales said the girl had told police the wrong date about when she first met Field and they had, in fact, met two years before that.

She replied: “Really? I literally can’t remember anything from my childhood apart from the abuse.”

Ms Hales said: “Is the truth that you have made this up?”

The girl began crying and replied: “No. If I had, would I be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder?”

The trial before Judge Zoe Smith continues.

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