Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 17:25 UK

Some head sex charges withdrawn

David Thorley
David Thorley will be found not guilty of eight of the charges

A primary head teacher accused of sex assaults against children said he had never removed clothing or touched their private parts.

Earlier, the Swansea Crown Court jury was told eight of the 19 charges against David Thorley, 56, would be withdrawn with 11 counts remaining.

Judge Michael Burr said there was not enough "evidence of quality" in eight charges against the Pembrokeshire head.

Mr Thorley, from Carmarthen, denies the charges.

Giving evidence, Mr Thorley described taking a young girl to Withybush hospital in Haverfordwest after she fell and broke her collar bone.

He agreed he had taken her to toilet three times - always at her request - and that because of her injury he had unbuttoned her jeans and eased them and her pants down from the sides.

But Mr Thorley said this only happened after he asked her if she needed help.

He said she failed to do anything until the third occasion.

'No evidence at all'

Mr Thorley said he then drove her to her grandfather's home, patted her on the head and told her she had been a brave girl.

Two days later he realised he still had her necklace in his pocket and he delivered it to her home, along with a box of chocolates.

Asked by his barrister Marian Lewis why he had given her chocolates, Mr Thorley said it was normal for the school to give a small present to a child who had been injured.

"That has been done on so many occasions," he added.

Describing a second incident, during which the prosecution claimed he removed a young girl's underpants and inspected her private area, Mr Thorley said the examination had been carried out "sensitively" and by a female teacher.

A teaching assistant had earlier told the court she witnessed Mr Thorley examining the child and had become so concerned she secretly contacted Pembrokeshire education authority and asked for advice on what to do about it.

Mr Thorley denied intimidating the assistant, and described the school he ran as one of the happiest in the area.

Earlier Judge Burr explained to the jury that eight of the charges were being withdrawn and they would in time be directed to return a verdict of not guilty on each.

He said there was only one issue in the case - did Mr Thorley derive sexual gratification from his behaviour towards the children he is accused of assaulting

The judge said that in many of the instances described to the court there had been "absolutely no evidence at all of sexual touching."

Judge Burr said Mr Thorley was not on trial for acting inappropriately or inadvisably and a jury properly directed by a judge could not safely convict on eight of the charges.

He stressed it did not mean he, as the judge, thought that Mr Thorley was guilty of the remaining 11 charges, only that there was sufficient evidence for a jury to consider.

The trial continues.

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