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Children perching on knee 'not inappropriate', ex-head tells court

Clifford Stott walking into court
Image caption Clifford Stott, 69, was a former head teacher at Paull Primary School and Sproatley Endowed School

A former primary school head teacher has told a court it was "not inappropriate for a child to perch on knee" in the 1970s.

Clifford Stott, 69, of Rise Road, Skirlaugh, is accused of abusing two boys during that decade at Paull Primary School and Sproatley Endowed School in East Yorkshire.

Hull Crown Court heard claims one boy was indecently assaulted as he sat on Mr Stott's lap in a reading lesson.

Mr Stott denies eight sexual offences.

Giving evidence, the former head described how in the 70s "it wasn't inappropriate for a child to lean against or even perch on knee whilst reading", but it was very different to how he would cuddle his grandson on the knee while reading at home.

He told the jury pupils "would be perching on your knee and not sitting" and that he "certainly wouldn't have your arm around their body".

When asked if it would be possible to touch a child in the way alleged in court, he said "that would be impossible" and "not over a three-year period without someone noticing".

Mr Stott said the last three years since his arrest had been "the most difficult of my life".

He told the court: "Huge parts of my life have changed. My family has felt the pressure, my friends have felt the pressure."

The jury heard Mr Stott was made head teacher at the age of 28 and was one of the youngest heads in the country at the time.

He denies five charges of indecent assault against one child, two charges of indecent assault against a second child and one charge of indecency.

The trial continues.

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