Teacher describes “sense of bewilderment” at arrest for sexual assault

A former Horncastle primary school teacher accused of historic sexual offences described his teaching style as “strict and firm but fair”, and said he felt a “sense of bewilderment” when he was arrested.

Lincoln Crown Court
Lincoln Crown Court

David Thomas, 68, a former teacher at Bowl Alley Lane Junior School, is standing trial at Lincoln Crown Court and denies five charges which have been put before a jury.

Four of the charges relate to one alleged victim and are alleged to have occurred between February 1980 and February 1983.

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Two of the charges allege Thomas committed a serious sexual offence on a female person under the age of 16.

Two further charges allege Thomas indecently assaulted a female person under the age of 14.

Thomas is also accused of one offence of indecent assault against a second alleged female victim aged under 14, alleged to have occurred between September 1982 and September 1984.

Giving evidence at Lincoln Crown Court on the fourth day of the trial today (Thursday), when asked to describe his teaching style, Thomas said he was strict and a “hard taskmaster - someone who demands the best from all their pupils for their ability”.

He also said he was very strict and firm, but always told he was fair, and did shout or raise his voice to reprimand a child and he was sometimes known as “scary Mr Thomas”.

He said: “I believe some children moving up into my class were nervous about coming to me because of my reputation as a strict teacher, but I think that opinions soon changed when they got to know me.”

When asked by the defence if he had ever acted inappropriately towards a child, either physically or violently, used derogatory or negative comments about children, he said “no” to all questions.

Thomas was asked how good his memory of that time was, and he said it was “very good for certain things concerning trivia, but not that clear of general day-to-day things.”

Describing his arrest for these offences in July 2020, he said that what was happening didn’t quite “sink in”.

He said: I was in a state of bewilderment and I was more concerned about my wife as she was very distressed. I can remember saying “it will be alright” to her and then the police said ‘I have to arrest you now’ and I was taken to Skegness police station.”

When asked why he did not have a solicitor present during his initial interview, he said: “I know I was naive but I knew I haven’t done anything wrong so I thought I didn’t need a solicitor as I have nothing to hide.”

Thomas, of Harding Close, Sutton on Sea, denies all charges.

The trial continues.