Courts: Head tells of sex talk by pupils at rape case school

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The Independent Online
The headteacher of a primary school where a 10-year-old girl was allegedly raped and indecently assaulted told the Old Bailey yesterday that pupils there talked about sex more than she had ever experienced in 17 years in the teaching profession.

She made the comment during the trial of four boys who allegedly participated in a sex attack on the girl in the boys' lavatories at their London school last May.

The witness, who was headteacher at the time of the alleged incident but is no longer at the school, was questioned by defence counsel Steven Kay QC about the level of sex talk among pupils.

She told the jury and judge, Mrs Justice Bracewell, of incidents of name- calling involving sex, of girls being teased as "lesbians" and the word "sex" being written in school books.

Mr Kay asked her: "Had you come across this mentioning of sex at this age level ever before within your experience?"

She replied: "Not to the extent that I did at this school ... The talk, the language was more involved with sex than I have experienced before."

Two 10-year-old boys are accused of raping a pupil at the school when she was nine. They are also accused with two other boys, aged 10 and 11, of indecently assaulting her. All four deny the charges.

The prosecution case is that five boys dragged the girl into lavatories at their school, forcibly stripped her and then fondled her before three of them took it in turns to rape her as the others looked on and laughed.

A third boy alleged to have raped her could not be prosecuted as he was nine at the time and under the age of criminal responsibility.

The headteacher said the first she knew about the alleged incident was when she received a note from the girl's mother.

She agreed with Mr Kay that the note made no allegation concerning rape: "To my recollection it was an allegation of a threat that her clothes would be removed."

When she spoke to the child about what had allegedly happened the previous day she said a group of boys "were trying to take her clothes off".

Mr Kay: "And that she had been touched down there, meaning her genitals?"

She replied: "That's correct."

Mr Kay: "And that was the extent of these allegations made by her then?"

Again the witness agreed.

Mr Kay, representing one of the 10-year-olds accused of rape, asked the headteacher about the account that boy had given her in her office.

He had told her they had asked the girl to come into the boys' toilet, that she took off her knickers and he took off his trousers.

During the interview, the boy had not given the impression that he was unduly concerned and it was not until she told him it was serious that he started to get upset.

She added: "In the time I have known him he has rarely given the impression of realising that what he has done is serious."

Questioned by Mr Robin Grey QC, for the second boy accused of rape, the headteacher said that by the time the police arrived this boy was crying uncontrollably.

The headteacher said that when she spoke to the girl at the centre of the case she was subdued, her speech was disjointed and there were moments of silence.

The hearing continues today.

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