April 2016

Ex-teacher at Edinburgh school guilty of assault and sexual remarks

A former science teacher at an Edinburgh school has been found guilty of assaulting a 13-year-old boy and making sexual comments to a 13-year-old girl.

Gavin Atkinson, 58, repeatedly pushed the boy and pressed his body against a doorway with his knee.

He claimed he told the “disruptive” girl he could see her underwear “to try to embarrass her” into calming down.

Sentence on Atkinson, of Dumfries, was deferred at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

The trial heard the boy had been told to wait behind at the end of the school day for a period of detention.

He tried to leave the classroom to meet his mother in the car park, but Atkinson stopped him.

The boy, now 16, said: “As I tried to walk past, he pushed me. I tried to get past, but he pushed me again.

“I tried to crawl through his legs, but he grabbed me by the shoulders and chest. I remember him saying, ‘You are not going to move 18 stone’.”

He added that Atkinson used his knee to jam his shoulder on the door. The boy said he later went to the Sick Kids’ Hospital and his arm was put in a sling.

Another pupil told how the girl climbed up on a work surface to open a window “and began dancing about”.

She said Atkinson “said something about her having pink tights and polka dot pants”.

Atkinson told the court the girl was being disruptive, showing off and refusing to come down.

He said: “I thought I might embarrass her by saying I could see her knickers and she got down and sat down.”

Finding Atkinson guilty of the two charges, Sheriff Michael O’Grady QC said: “I find Mr Atkinson’s demeanour strangely and wholly unconvincing or credible.”

Sheriff O’Grady described two pupils who gave evidence as being convincing and credible. He added that both had been prepared to admit certain aspects of their behaviour.

Sentence was deferred on until 27 May for the preparation of a social work report, and Atkinson was ordered to register as a sex offender.