Rothbury indecent assaults trial: Day five, afternoon

A woman told a court that her PE teacher tried to kiss her while they were alone in a store cupboard.

Joseph Kinnear, 59, of East Newtown Cottages, Rothbury, 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 Beaumont Middle School in Hexham and Dr Thomlinson’s Middle School in Rothbury.

And this afternoon, the jury heard from another alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

She described how during gymnastic sessions, Kinnear would try to get her to do the splits. Kneeling down in front of her, he would put his little finger on the floor and his thumb touching in her genital area to measure how far she was from the floor. This happened around half-a-dozen times, she said.

On another occasion, after a lunchtime gym session, she said that she was the last one left with Kinnear while she was putting her mat away in the store cupboard.

“He put his hands on my shoulders and said, ‘You did very well and you deserve a kiss,” she said.

She went on to tell the jury how he moved towards her, but she turned her head away and he kissed her on the cheek.

Asked why she turned away, she replied: “I had never been kissed by a boy or man in that way, on the lips, and I was uncomfortable.”

Mark Barlow, defending, said that Kinnear denies that either of these incidents took place.

She also received letters and cartoons from Kinnear, which she had found among old papers towards the end of last year, and said that he used to pick her up and crack her back during PE, although Mr Barlow suggested that these incidents were not sexual.

The witness also told the court that Kinnear used to come into the girls’ changing rooms where he would have been able to see girls going in and out of the showers.

During her testimony, she was also asked about a divide in Rothbury over Kinnear.

She said: “I was nervous about making a statement because I’m aware of how Rothbury is divided, but if somebody doesn’t want to speak to me because I told the truth, well, I’ve got to do what’s right.”

The trial continues on Monday when the prosecution is expected to conclude its case.