Northumberland ex-teacher accused of sex assaults gives evidence at trial

A former teacher from Northumberland has given evidence at his trial where he is accused of sex assaults on young girls

Joseph Kinnear is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court
Joseph Kinnear is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court

A former teacher accused of historic sexual assaults on young girls took to the stand yesterday and denied claims he is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

Joseph Kinnear, 59, is facing trial at Newcastle Crown Court on 14 charges of indecent assault dating back to between 1975 and 1982.

His alleged victims were three girls who were then aged between 11 and 14.

The married man admitted to the jury he has already served a jail sentence for sexual offences against young girls but continues to deny his guilt. The historic allegations came to light after his first conviction.

It is said he manipulated girls and abused them at the school, in his car and at one of their homes.

Kinnear, of East Newtown Cottages, Morpeth, Northumberland, told the court his alleged victims were either ‘mistaken’ or telling a ‘pack of lies’. He yesterday told the court: “I’m not a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’m not a wolf of any description.”

The jury has heard trusted Kinnear took children abroad, ran gym clubs, ski clubs, soccer clubs and youth clubs and developed close relationships with some girls.

He told the court he would give young girls a ‘birthday kiss’ in front of the class.

It is alleged, however, that Kinnear gave other kisses behind closed doors and when he pulled over into secluded spots when he took young girls home. He told the jury girls in his class were given the option of whether they wanted a ‘peck on the lips’ for their birthday and didn’t believe it was inappropriate. He denied any of the kisses took place in his car or in private at the school.

Kinnear told how he intervened when one of his alleged victims was bullied by a boy at school and sent her a note afterward.

Prosecutor Michael Hodson said the “secret note” was an attempt to groom the girl so he could sexually abuse her later.

The note told the girl she was “welcome for the favour of being rescued from the clutches of the evil one” and Kinnear was her “knight in shining armour”.

Kinnear claimed it was simply an attempt to “cheer her up” and denies any allegation of abuse.

Mr Hodson also put to Kinnear that it was out of ‘jealousy’ that Kinnear threw a cup of water over another of his alleged victims when she was kissing her boyfriend at one of his after-school youth clubs. Kinnear denied that was his motivation and said it was meant as a joke and to highlight that kissing at the club was “inappropriate”.

The former salesman also sent Valentine’s Day cards to some girls with ‘x’s but claimed he didn’t want them to ‘feel isolated’.

He said: “As a form teacher, when children had Christmas cards or Valentine’s cards, especially 11 and 10-year-olds, they all count how many cards they have from their friends or kids at school. There is always one child who doesn’t get any and they feel isolated.”

The trial continues.

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