PE teacher 'slapped boy, four, on knees'

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image captionPE Teacher Ian Webber is standing trial at Birmingham Magistrates Court

A PE teacher slapped a four-year-old on the knees when the boy had a tantrum during an after-school football class, a court has heard.

Ian Webber is accused of hitting the pupil twice after being kicked when he told the boy not to pull post-it notes from a display.

The 54-year-old, of Fairfields Hill, Polesworth, north Warwickshire, denies a charge of assault by beating.

His trial heard he was helping at the session involving about eight children.

Opening the case at Birmingham Magistrates' Court, prosecutor Tim Talbot-Webb said the boy was described as "having a tantrum" by witnesses.

"Mr Webber was unsuccessful in calming the boy down, the tantrum continued and it seems that Mr Webber in the course of that lost his temper," he said.

During police interview, the court was told, Mr Webber denied striking any blows after making a "jokey" comment to the boy.

Giving evidence, a parent who witnessed part of the alleged attack in May 2018 said she saw Mr Webber tell the boy to calm down before she saw him move his arm and heard a smacking sound.

Under cross-examination by Mr Webber's barrister, Alexander Barbour, she said she had not seen a slap or smack.

When asked if she thought it could have been something like a high-five, she said it was "not impossible," but "wasn't my interpretation at the time."

In his defence Mr Webber, a teacher since 2002, said the only contact had been a high-five.

Asked by Mr Barbour if the boy's behaviour had angered him, Webber responded: "No, I thought it was comedic if anything."

Under cross-examination from Mr Talbot-Webb, the teacher said he told the boy he would kick him back as a jocular comment to "de-escalate" the situation.

Video interviews giving accounts of the incident were played to the court from four young boys, including the four-year-old, who told police that he was struck by the teacher.

The trial continues on Wednesday .

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