The jury in the trial of a former PE teacher from Rothbury, accused of indecently assaulting schoolgirls, this afternoon heard evidence from his interviews with police.
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.
In the police interviews, which took place in 2012, Kinnear denied all of the allegations, in one case saying that he was ‘amazed’ that they had been made.
In relation to one witness, he said that her claims didn’t make sense as she said some of the abuse took place after swimming club. But the pool was closed from October to March and he only joined the school in September that year.
He also said that he didn’t have favourites, contrary to the evidence of several witnesses during the trial, which started last Monday. “I didn’t have favourites, but I had kids that I spent more time with because of their interests.”
He denied that he was flirtatious with the girls at school, but admitted it was nice to be popular. He also said that he treated the boys the same as the girls.
He also denied kissing one of the alleged victims in private, but he did admit giving ‘a peck on the cheek or a peck on the mouth, nothing sexual’ to certain pupils on their birthdays, in front of the class.
Asked if it was appropriate for a teacher in his 20s to be kissing 12/13-year-old girls, he replied that he wouldn’t think it was appropriate now, but it was different then.
Another point Kinnear raised during the police interviews was that two of the alleged victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were in contact with him up until allegations were made. He also taught some of their children.
The trial continues.