PE teacher ‘slapped boy on knees after tantrum’
A PE teacher slapped a four-year-old boy twice on the knees after the youngster had a tantrum during an after school football class, a court has heard.
Ian Webber is alleged to have assaulted the nursery-age pupil after being kicked as he told him not to pull post-it notes off an ideas display at a West Midlands school.
The 54-year-old teacher, of Fairfields Hill, Polesworth, north Warwickshire, denies a charge of assaulting the boy by beating in May last year.
Opening the case against Webber, prosecutor Tim Talbot-Webb said of the alleged victim: “He seemed to be having what’s described by various witnesses as a tantrum.”
Webber, who was helping out at the football session involving around eight children, stepped in to assist the coach, a trial at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court was told on Tuesday.
Mr Talbot-Webb added: “Mr Webber was unsuccessful in calming the boy down, the tantrum continued and it seems that Mr Webber in the course of that lost his temper.
“He was heard to say ‘If you kick me again I am going to smack you’ and then he did smack him twice – once to each leg.
“It was loud enough for a parent in the room to hear, although she didn’t see contact being made.”
The trial was told that Webber was interviewed by the police about the allegation and had denied striking any blows after making a “jokey” comment to the boy.
In evidence from the witness box, a parent who witnessed part of the incident, said she had seen Webber move his arm and heard a smacking sound.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court she saw the four-year-old sitting on the floor outside the hall while other children were still playing football.
The witness said of the boy: “He wasn’t doing anything, he looked a bit forlorn, a bit lost, but he was just sitting.
“The next thing that I remember was that Mr Webber walked in through the doors – they walked in together and sat on a bench.
“I heard Mr Webber say ‘If you do that again you will get a smack’. I heard Mr Webber say ‘You are damaging school property’ and then he picked him up by his arm and moved him to the front of the stage.
“I remember noticing that his feet weren’t on the floor. I was surprised and I remember that.”
Webber, the witness said, then told the boy to calm down before the alleged assault.
“I just saw a flash of arm,” she said. “I didn’t see much else. Then I heard this slapping, smacking sound and then I heard it again shortly afterwards.”
Under cross-examination by Webber’s barrister, Alexander Barbour, the parent said she had not seen a slap or smack, and was asked if she thought it could have been something like a high-five.
“I don’t but that’s not impossible,” the witness answered. “That wasn’t my interpretation at the time.”
The trial continues.