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'That never happened' - teacher accused of historic abuse gives evidence at court

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

An elderly former teacher has taken to the witness stand to deny sexually and physically abusing pupils.

Graham Brennand, 70, of Calder Avenue, Freckleton, is accused of a string of sexual assaults, physical assaults and one of cruelty against former pupils - some dating back more than 40 years.

He is accused of 29 charges involving 17 girls and two boys at a time when he worked as a teacher and deputy head at a primary school in East Lancashire. They span a period between 1974 and 1989 and are said to have taken place in a variety of locations including a first aid class and a store room.

Defending at Preston Crown Court, Sharon Watson quizzed him about the allegations and asked: "Were there occasions where pupils from your class would enter the store room?"

The defendant, who wore a blue jumper, replied: " Yes. Every so often I'd have a lesson where they'd practice colouring in patterned sheets

She asked: "And as far as you going to the storeroom did you ever follow any pupil into the store room?"

He replied: "No, I never did."

He was asked: "What do you say to the allegation you did follow a pupil and you put your hand on the shelf to trap them there?"

Brennand said: "No that never happened."

He told jurors he would ask for a couple of volunteers to tidy the storeroom up at lunch time a couple of times a month, and said he had entered momentarily to 'show them what needed doing' before leaving to 'play football with the boys'.

He was also quizzed about the first aid course complainants say he taught, telling the court he first undertook a St John's Ambulance course where he decided it would be valuable to pupils.

He said: "Teachers at college are taught how to teach different topics to pupils. We don't go into any topics in any depth.

"What we did was to try to give them an interest in a subject.

"To me when I'd done the first aid course it was just another topic.

"It was so simple, basic first aid that my pupils could understand, and I thought although they wouldn't be able to use it at the age of 10, when they were older and had the confidence to help they would have the knowledge of what to do."

(proceeding)