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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 21:16 GMT 22:16 UK
Head: "Fall pupil out of bounds"
James Porter
James Porter is head teacher and owner of the school
The head of a private school where a three-year-old pupil fell down steps and later died has told a court the boy knew he was in an out-of-bounds area.

Kian Williams died a month after his fall at Hillgrove School in Bangor, Gwynedd, on 7 July 2004.

Head teacher James Porter, 66, denies breaching health and safety laws.

Mr Porter told Mold Crown Court he held Kian in his arms after the boy fell. He said pupils were shown out-of-bounds areas. The case continues.

Mr Porter, who also owns the school, told the jury that every one of the school's 150 pupils was told where the boundaries were.

"The little ones are taken specifically around by a teacher and it's explained to them - the teacher says where they can and can't go," he told the court.

Children are designed to protect themselves - children, if they stumble, will protect themselves
James Porter

"The steps were not part of the area the infants were normally allowed to go down. It was out of bounds.

"The reasons are simply we wanted the children to have a delineated area and that wasn't in it. It wasn't at all to do with safety.

"I'm not aware of any accidents on those steps in the 20 years they've been there."

Defence barrister Patrick Harrington also told the court Hillgrove School had an impressive health and safety record and between the years 2001 to 2004, when there were only 87 recorded accidents.

'Crying'

The jury has heard Kian, from Bethesda, was pretending to be Batman and was unsupervised in the playground when he was hurt jumping from the brick steps in July 2004.

Kian Williams
Kian Williams, aged three, died a month after the fall

The court was also told Kian died in Alder Hey Children's Hospital on 11 August, 2004 from an MRSA type of pneumonia which was resistant to antibiotics.

On Thursday, Mr Porter spoke of the day of the accident, telling the court that a pupil had told him about the fall and that he had gone to see Kian.

"He was crying. I spoke to him, trying to distract him. He did not respond to that," Mr Porter told the court, adding that, when he heard the news that Kian had died a month later, it had been devastating.

The head teacher also told the jury the playground supervision, of one teacher to 59 pupils, was enough, because of the ethos of the school and the self-disciplined way the pupils behaved.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Nicholas Jones, Mr Porter that if he saw three-year-old pupils playing on the same steps, he would ask them to move because they were out of bounds, not because of safety.

"Children are designed to protect themselves - children, if they stumble, will protect themselves," he said.




SEE ALSO
Fall school safety record 'good'
25 Jul 07 |  North West Wales
MRSA 'killed boy, 3, after fall'
24 Jul 07 |  North West Wales
Head accused after death of pupil
23 Jul 07 |  North West Wales

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