Rothbury indecent assaults trial: Day 8

Giving evidence today, a former Rothbury teacher accused of indecent assaults said the allegations had been a ‘terrible burden’ on him, his family and his friends.

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.

Under cross-examination from Michael Hodson, prosecuting, Kinnear said he wasn’t under a terrible burden because of guilt, but due to how it was affecting his family. “I’m not guilty of these things,” he said.

Throughout his evidence today, he continually denied all of the allegations made against him.

Mr Hodson suggested that the alleged offences took place in locations where someone could have caught him because it was dangerous and exciting. “No, it wasn’t dangerous and exciting, it didn’t happen,” replied Kinnear.

This afternoon, the court heard from two former colleagues of Kinnear, who had been at Dr Thomlinson’s at the time of the alleged offences.

John Little, known as Harry, and James Browell both said that a letter and cartoons, which Kinnear had admitted sending to one of the alleged victims, were not what they expected a teacher and youth worker, and more specifically the accused, to send to a child.

Mr Little also said that he didn’t think it would be ‘professional behaviour’ to give pupils lifts home, which Kinnear also admitted.

But he followed on to say that it was different if parents had agreed in advance, although he also said he couldn’t remember any occasions when staff gave pupils lifts home.

The father of another of the alleged victims had previously told the jury that he raised Kinnear’s ‘total familiarity’ with his family with Mr Browell at the time.

But Mr Browell told the court today that he could not remember a conversation. “If there had been any concerns, I would have felt it my duty to take it up with the school,” he added.

The defence concluded its case this afternoon and the trial continues tomorrow with the concluding statements.