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Teacher insists alleged Witherslack Hall mistreatment “didn’t happen”

Roger Whitehouse outside Carlisle Crown Court

A FORMER teacher accused of mistreating two pupils at a South Cumbria residential school and also being cruel to one of them has maintained he is not guilty of the allegations.

Roger Whitehouse is one of five former Witherslack Hall staff members on trial at Carlisle Crown Court. All of the men – now aged 62 to 78 – deny charges which allege the physical abuse of boys at the Grange-over-Sands school during the 1970s and 1980s.

Whitehouse, of Sea View, Haverigg, returned to the witness box this morning (TUES) having begun his evidence yesterday.

During cross-examination by prosecutor Keith Sutton, 78-year-old Whitehouse spoke of being aware of “heresay” comments about “punishments” being used by some staff members. This included the cancelling of home leave, use of a plimsoll, placing of pupils in PE kit and boys being made to take part in cross-country runs wearing wellingtons – an event dubbed the “Welly Olympics”.

“I heard a bit of talk about it,” Whitehouse told jurors of apparent “punishments”. “I didn’t take part in it or witness it.”

Asked by Mr Sutton whether he had made a boy walk barefoot in a quarry, as alleged, he replied: “He says that happened. It didn’t.”

Asked about an alleged assault on that same boy, he responded: “What he describes didn’t happen.”

And, when asked whether he allegedly assaulted a second boy who stole cigarettes, Whitehouse – a man with no convictions, cautions or warnings to his name – insisted: “No. That didn’t happen either.”

The trial continues.

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