Rothbury indecent assaults trial: Day 6, morning

A woman told a court that, as a 13-year-old, her teacher used to sexually abuse her in his car, as the trial of a Rothbury man starts its second week.

Joseph Kinnear, 59, of East Newtown Cottages, is standing trial at Newcastle Crown Court after pleading not guilty to 14 counts of indecent assault dating back to between 1975 and 1982.

At the time, Kinnear was a teacher at Dr Thomlinson’s Middle School in Rothbury and Beaumont Middle School in Hexham.

This morning, a woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the jury that Kinnear gave her lifts home when she was a pupil and would pull over on a secluded country lane and kiss and touch her sexually. This happened ‘at least eight times’.

Referring to the kissing, the witness, who was overwhelmed by emotion at one point, said: “At the time, I didn’t see it as a problem, I thought we were friends, I thought he cared for me.

“I thought it was a normal way for him to show he cared for me.”

She explained that the touching left her ‘a little embarrassed’, but said: “I had a high opinion of him, so it seemed the right thing to do. I didn’t feel pressured at the time.

“I thought it was normal. I thought it was him expressing how he cared for me.

“I did used to kiss him back, but I never touched him.”

Mark Barlow, defending, asked if she knew it was wrong. “I knew it was different and unusual. Wrong? I don’t know...it’s hard to explain.”

She added that it was only when she was older, at high school, that she realised it was inappropriate.

She told the jury that she shared what happened with her best friend at the time, but didn’t have many friends nor a good relationship with her parents. “I knew it wasn’t the type of thing to share widely,” she added.

The witness also told the court that Kinnear had indecently assaulted her at his house on three or four occasions.

Mr Barlow said that Kinnear denies all of her allegations.

The trial continues this afternoon.