Four years for ex-teacher

Joseph Kinnear.
Joseph Kinnear.

An ex-teacher from Rothbury has been jailed for a second time after being found guilty of a string of indecent assaults on schoolgirls.

Last Friday, Joseph Kinnear, 59, of East Newtown Cottages, was sentenced to four years and one month in prison at Newcastle Crown Court.

It followed a trial in October in which he was convicted of nine counts of indecent assault.

He was found not guilty by the jury of nine women and three men of a further five counts following nine days of evidence. He had denied all of the allegations.

The charges relate to three different victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and date back to between 1975 and 1982 when Kinnear was a teacher at Dr Thomlinson’s Middle School in Rothbury and Beaumont Middle School, Hexham.

He was previously convicted of a series of similar offences in 2006 and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

The court took this into account during last week’s sentencing under a concept known as totality, as the offences related to the same places and era.

Passing sentence, Judge Simon Hickey said: “All of these victims have spoken of an inability to form relationships, an inability to trust and, in particular, to trust men.

“If a guilty plea avoids a victim having to come to court, then credit is due.

“In your arrogance, that I witnessed from the witness box, you said both juries had made a terrible mistake. I disagree.

“You groomed your victims by incremental touching.

“You were painted, in my judgement, Joseph Kinnear, in your true colours by those young women who had to relive those experiences.”

Judge Hickey added that to all outsiders, Kinnear was a ‘very gifted teacher’ and a ‘valued member of the community’, but he abused the gifts in what was a ‘gross breach of trust’.

The prosecution made an application for Kinnear to be made subject to a sexual offences protection order, but it was turned down due to the ‘passage of time’ and the lack of repetition. He will be barred from working with children or vulnerable adults for life.