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Teacher had classroom mattress for “romping with children”

Richard Alston
Richard Alston

A former teacher who allegedly molested an 11-year-old pupil kept a mattress in his classroom on which he "romped with children", a court has heard.

Richard Alston, 70, is accused of repeatedly indecently assaulting the youngster at Cavendish School in Greenford, Middlesex, in the late 1970s.

The attacks are said to have taken place on school grounds, during a school camp and at the flat Alston shared with his then boyfriend, Peter Righton.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard evidence from Wendy Doyle, who worked as a teaching assistant at the school for maladjusted boys at the same time as Alston.

She said "overbearing" Righton had been a governor at the school, but Alston did not really have much personality.

When asked by prosecutor Peter Clement if there was anything unusual about Alston's teaching, she replied: "There was a mattress that they kept in the cupboard. It was small, just a rolled-up, flat mattress.

"If you wanted to go into the classroom, you couldn't really push the door open anyway, because the mattress was down, with the furniture pushed back."

She added that she thought it was "odd" but did not say anything to the headteacher at the time.

Simon Spence, defending, asked Mrs Doyle what she meant when she said she "imagined" Alston and the children had been "romping" on the mattress.

She answered: "Richard and the children were in the classroom. I could see from his reaction when he came out - he was hot and bothered, if you like."

Alston denies six counts of indecent assault and four counts of indecency with a child against one complainant in the late 1970s.

He allegedly first molested the then 11-year-old after he fell off a climbing frame in the play area of the school, under the pretence of comforting him.

Two further indecent assaults are said to have taken place during a school camp, and allegedly involved Alston creeping into the complainant's tent and touching him while swimming in a pond.

Mr Clement told the court that one of the allegations was that Alston had gone into the 11-year-old's tent and slid his hand into his sleeping bag and into his pyjamas, under the pretence of wishing him goodnight after "story time".

On one occasion Righton - now deceased - gave the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a pair of silk swimming trunks, which he asked him to wear and "parade" in front of himself and Alston, jurors heard.

Other allegations state that Alston and Righton - sometimes in the presence of their friend Charles Napier - would play pornographic films at their flat and watch the youngster's reaction, occasionally asking him to perform sex acts on them as he did so.

Alston, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, is on bail and denies all charges against him.