Source: "PTAVE Reports," November 1983

School Head--Second Trial

We reported last month that Colin West, Headmaster of the Lower School. St. Aiden's, Carlisle, would be retried on charges of indecently assaulting girl pupils. The Crown alleged that Mr. West spanked girls, ages 11 to 14, on the bare buttocks with a shoe and then rubbed their buttocks with antiseptic cream. It had been alleged that most of the beatings had been inflicted in the girls' homes which Mr. West visited with his "punishment kit" consisting of the shoe and a tube of antiseptic cream carried in a cardboard box. Mr. West denied the charges, stating that he spanked the girls with a training shoe on top of their nightwear and had not applied antiseptic cream.

The court heard that in March 1982, two girls were called to West's office because they were not wearing full uniform. West told one to go back to class but detained the other. She told the court the following:

"He dragged me into his office and slammed his door behind him and said, 'I'm going to teach you a lesson.' Then he slapped me across the face. I started crying. He pushed me by the throat and I fell back against the bookcase. He pulled me by the arm and pulled me over his knee. He was kneeling on the floor. He pulled my skirt up and hit me about twice. Then he pulled my knickers down. He hit me across my bare bottom. He kept hitting me until I said I'm telling my mum and dad about you. He put his hands on my shoulders and said, 'I love you more than any other kid in this school. You need not tell your mum what happened.'"

Earlier, the court was told by a mother whose daughter was spanked in her presence that West seemed excited by the beating. "It was brutal," she said.

Another mother who watched West spank her daughter said, "He seemed to enjoy it, but I don't know what he was feeling inside."

Another mother testified that after West finished slippering her daughter, he knelt down beside her and said, "I am sorry, love, I had to do it."

One witness alleged that three weeks after he spanked her daughter, West came to her home to request written authorization to use corporal punishment. She told the court, "He came to see me to ask me to write a letter to say that it had been alright to punish my daughter because one of the girl's fathers was going to have his guts for garters for punishing his daughter that way."

On September 30, Colin West was given a 6 month suspended jail sentence.

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