Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 18:43 UK

Head's sex charges 'devastation'

David Thorley
David Thorley is accused of sexually assaulting girls

A primary head teacher accused of sex assaults against children has told a jury of the "complete devastation" brought about by his prosecution.

David Thorley, 56, told Swansea Crown Court the allegations were "a total tragedy" for him personally which had "broken our hearts".

The prosecution claims Mr Thorley, from Carmarthen, had "an unhealthy interest in young girls".

He denies 11 charges of sexually assaulting five girls.

During his cross examination, Mr Thorley described the Pembrokeshire school as a "lovely place, great children, great staff. I'm very proud of it".

Asked by prosecutor Huw Rees why the daughters of a family friend had made allegations about him he said he believed that "malign influences" had been involved.

He said there had been "a devastating sequence of events that resulted from press publicity about my arrest".

I never did anything to make them feel uncomfortable
David Thorley

He agreed he could find no reason why the two girls had told lies about him or why the other three girls had made up stories about him.

Mr Rees accused Mr Thorley of "engineering" a situation where he could apply talcum powder to the private parts of the two girls.

Mr Thorley said it was totally untrue and he had taken them swimming because they had asked him to.

"Are you telling a pack of lies?," asked Mr Rees. "No," he replied. "I'm standing here and telling you the truth."

He said the mother of the two girls had been wrong when she told the jury that she found it necessary to tell Mr Thorley there was no need to "dress and undress them because they could do it themselves".

"I never did anything to make them feel uncomfortable," he added.

The prosecution maintains that Thorley had "an unhealthy interest in young girls" and abused his position to intimately examine the children and apply medication in a "wholly inappropriate manner."

On Monday, the jury was told eight charges against Mr Thorley were being withdrawn with 11 counts remaining.

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

The trial continues.

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