Lancashire headteacher denies sex charges in court

James Bird, 53 leaving Preston Crown Court
James Bird, 53 leaving Preston Crown Court

A man claims he was sexually abused by his headteacher in his office at a Lancashire primary school as a “punishment” for being naughty in class.

Breaking a silence lasting more than a decade, the former pupil – who can not be identified for legal reasons – told Preston Crown Court he was forced to perform sex acts upon James Bird, 53, after being sent out of class for backchatting a teacher.

Bird, of Acorn Close, Leyland, denies four counts of gross indecency with the boy, who was ten years old at the time of the alleged offences.

His alleged victim claims Bird told him no-one would believe him if he spoke out about the abuse.

In Dcecember last year, while he was drunk, the man confided in a close friend who encouraged him to report the allegations to the police.

In a recorded interview with specialist police officers, the man said: “There’s so many bad people in the world and if people don’t step forward to stop them doing it they get away with it.”

Bird, who also taught at Newton Bluecoat school in Newton With Scales for more than a decade, sat in the dock wearing a smart grey suit, as the man told how he was preyed upon by the headteacher at St James’ CE School, Accrington.

He said once the abuse had started he tried hard to behave in class to prevent it happening again.

On one occasion he was disciplined by Bird, who took him out of class to his office, where he shut the door and blinds and forced the boy to perform sex acts on him before calling his mother in to school to discuss his behaviour.

The man said: “I wanted to tell her but I just couldn’t. My mouth was opening to tell her what was happening so she could take me home and never bring me back there again but it wouldn’t come out.

“I didn’t know what to say or where to start.”

But he said: “She would have believed me because she’s like that, my mum. She knew if I was telling the truth or not and she knew if I was lying but I didn’t want to tell her I’d done it because it wasn’t right.”

Bird denies four counts of gross indecency with a child when he was headteacher at St James’ CE School in Accrington.

The man finally contacted the police on December 11 last year after confiding in a close friend who encouraged him to report Bird.

He told officers: “I’d rather just lock it up inside and throw away the key and forget about it.”

Bird denies the charges and the trial continues.