Senior teacher gives trial evidence

A SENIOR teacher at East Bergholt High told a court that she was "surprised" that her colleague Frank Schmidt had gone to visit a former pupil before allegedly indecently assaulting her.

A SENIOR teacher at East Bergholt High told a court that she was "surprised" that her colleague Frank Schmidt had gone to visit a former pupil before allegedly indecently assaulting her.

On day three of the trial of religious studies teacher Schmidt, head of year Denise Morecombe said Schmidt had told her of his summer visit shortly before the start of term in September last year.

Schmidt, 34, of George Street, Hadleigh is accused of twice indecently assaulting the girl in her bedroom between July 14 and August 14. He denies both charges.

Mrs Morecombe told the jury at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court that Schmidt had told her he'd visited the girl "on impulse" as he had been thinking about her.


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She said: "He was worried about her and had gone to see if she was alright. I had no idea he was planning it, but he said the visit had gone very, very badly.

"He had gone into her room and was shocked at what he had seen there. She was living in a great deal of chaos and there was the debris of drug abuse in the room.

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"He was shocked and very upset as he had spoken to her on a number of occasions and advised her not to use drugs and saw that she had not followed his advice.

"He said he felt let down that she had rejected his advice and he told me that he had argued with her and left feeling very let down by her. He said they had argued about her alleged use of drugs."

On the second day, the girl had told the court she had developed a drug problem after being indecently assaulted by Schmidt on the day of this visit.

Martin Evans, prosecuting, asked Mrs Morecombe, who also taught the alleged victim French at the school, if she thought Schmidt's home visit followed school protocol.

"I was surprised he had gone to visit a former student in her home. It's not the way we work as teachers" she replied.

Earlier on day three of the trial, a former classmate of the 16-year-girl told the jury that she had observed a conversation in which their teacher (Schmidt) had suggested he visit the girl at her home address.

The witness, who described herself as the best friend of the victim of the alleged assault said the conversation had taken place at an end-of-term school prom night.

The witness said that on the night of the prom, Schmidt had been "drinking and enjoying himself" and "behaving in a very familiar fashion " with the alleged victim.

The witness said that the girl and Schmidt had been talking when she appeared to become upset at something Schmidt had said. She told the court: "she voiced opposition to the suggestion and didn't want it to happen."

On the second day of the trial, the alleged victim said that at the prom Schmidt had suggested that he should "come around and see if her room was tidy".

The trial continues.

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