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6th Jul, 2022

Woodwork teacher denies fondling boys

Ian Hughes 5th Apr, 2017

A RETIRED woodwork teacher has firmly denied indecently assaulting two boys he is accused of fondling after summoning them to his room at a Warwickshire school in the 1980s.

Roland Midgley of Warwick Road, Southam, has pleaded not guilty to three charges of indecently assaulting one boy when he was 12 and 13, and one of indecently assaulting a 13-year-old.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place after now 72 year-old Mr Midgley, who was also head of years one and two at Kineton High School, sent notes instructing the boys to report to him.

Giving evidence at Warwick Crown Court, Mr Midgley said he began working at the school in 1967, teaching woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing, and stayed there until he retired in 2000.

Responding to questions from his barrister Lee Masters, he said he progressed to becoming a head of year, alternating between years one and two, and then head of the lower school, covering the first three year groups.

As a teacher, and as a year head, one of his duties was to make comments in the school report of each pupil he taught and those for whom he was head of year.

Asked whether there had been a written record of any disciplinary action, he said he could not remember.

The court has heard that the second of his two alleged victims had made a complaint to the police in 1999, but that no charge followed at the time.

It was only after another former pupil went to the police in 2015, having had his memory rekindled by a social media chat in which Mr Midgley’s name cropped up, that that matter was revived.

Mr Midgley mentioned the 1999 complaint when he was being interviewed in relation to the more recent complaint, but asked whether he could recall that boy’s name, he said he could not.

The three charges in relation to the other boy are said to have represented a course of conduct while that boy was in the first two years at the school, but he said that when the police told him the boy’s name, he did not recall him either.

Asked how many pupils he had taught during his time at the school, Mr Midgley said: “I’ve been trying to work it out.  Over my 30 years I would have taught or been in charge of 4,000-plus.”

The alleged incidents with the two boys, during which he is accused of fondling their genitals, were described as having taken place in his office at the back of the wood store.

But Mr Midgley said: “I didn’t have an office. I had a desk in my teaching room, but in the wood store there was a filing cabinet and a makeshift desk.  It was a very small area.”

The wood store was between two woodwork classrooms, and asked whether the doors had locks, he said: “There were locks on the main door to the outside, but I can’t remember whether there were locks to the store room.  I don’t think there were.”

Of the notes he is said to have sent telling the boys to report to him, he said he had no recollection of sending notes for the one boy to see him – and had not sent a note instructing the other boy to do so.

Mr Midgley went on to deny ever abusing either boy.

The trial continues.

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