July 2011



A FORMER teacher who physically assaulted a former girl pupil at his remote farmhouse has been jailed.

Stewart Bates placed his hands around the 16-year-old’s neck, pinned her against a wall and pressed his thumbs on her windpipe.

Preston Crown Court yesterday heard that he had suggested the youngster join him and her friend in a threesome.

Bates had previously had sex with the girl’s friend.

The 16-year-old had ended up going along to Bates’ address in Gargreave Cottage, Gargreave in Kirkby that night last July with her mate.

The 61-year-old defendant from Kirkby had denied a charge of common assault, but a jury earlier convicted him following trial.

The jury had cleared him of three allegations of sexually assaulting the girl.

Judge Graham Knowles QC, who passed the six-week term, told him: “A clear, firm message is needed that your behaviour was intolerable and seriously wrong.”

The court heard he had had a long and unblemished career in teaching.

He taught religious studies, life skills and citizenship until he was sacked.

An employment tribunal found it was unfair dismissal in 2009.

Then, last summer, he came across the two former pupils.

One of them went on to have consensual sex with him and she later returned on a subsequent occasion to his home.

She needed to take her 16-year-old friend with her – the girl who went on to be assaulted.

On that occasion Bates had drunk the best part of two bottles of wine.

Mr Roger Green, prosecuting, said the 16-year-old girl had gone to use the toilet.

While she was upstairs on her own, the defendant was said to have grabbed hold of her arm, put his hands around her neck and pinned her against a wall.

He pressed his thumbs against her windpipe. She told him to get off.

The defendant said something about sleeping with him, but she refused.

Bates allegedly said if she didn’t sleep with him, he would hurt her.

The girl pushed him away.

When arrested and interviewed he maintained that no such event had occurred.

Miss Martine Snowdon, defending, said her client had said he couldn’t remember the incident, but may have put his hands on her shoulders to calm her down.

She submitted: “It would be wrong to sentence him on the basis of any sexual motive”.

His barrister told the court that in 1995, the defendant lost a grown up child.

He kept himself busy with his job after that and for many years had an impeccable record as a teacher.

“After he lost his job in early 2009, he had time to think and it came down on him like a ton of bricks. There was a downward spiral which led him to drink.

“He has lost his livelihood, has isolated himself and had the anxiety of very serious allegations hanging over his head for more than a year.

“The punishment in this case has been enough.

“He is not going to come back before this court”.

In passing sentence, Judge Knowles said the girl had been desperate to leave, but her friend didn’t want to go.

He also told him: “This was an abuse of power by you. She called you sir through the evening and Mr Bates.

“She was regarding you still as the teacher you had always been to her.

“This was literally your home territory and she was far from home, with no means to leave. Your attitude to her was one of scorn.”