A FORMER assistant headteacher charged with performing an indecent act in front of children at a Christmas party and sleepover said ‘that’s my career down the pan’ when confronted, a court heard.
Matthew Hill, 40, who taught at Lyndhurst Junior School in Crofton Road, North End, Portsmouth, before his arrest is accused of performing the act during his unconnected volunteer work.
Hill was one of four adults supervising about 18 children aged between seven and 14 on the night of the alleged incident at Buckland Park Play Centre in Malins Road, Buckland. Portsmouth.
Site leader Nicola Andrews told Portsmouth Crown Court she confronted Hill after witnessing him committing the crime in the early hours, telling him to leave the centre before calling the police.
Hill, of Mallory Crescent, Fareham, denies outraging public decency by committing an act of a lewd, obscene and disgusting nature.
The court heard children had arrived at the centre from about 5.30pm and enjoyed a Christmas dinner, played games, made sweets, watched films and taken part in karaoke.
Some started settling down for the night at about 10.30pm.
Hill was initially sleeping on a mat on his own in the main hall in the same room as a group of children, while other children slept in a back room.
The court heard that deputy play leader Susan Morey, who was among the supervising adults in the main hall, was struggling to sleep that night, December 23, 2012.
She got up at 3.15am and she and Hill went outside together for a cigarette.
Shortly after their return Hill got up and said to a child that he was going to move into the back room because he was cold. He picked up his bedding and was seen entering the room by site manager Nicola Andrews, who had woken up in the back room.
The court head that shortly after 5am Mrs Andrews woke up again and saw Hill performing an obscene act near a child who was asleep.
She said: ‘He had his eyes open and I didn’t know whether he was looking at [the child] or whether he was looking at his hand. I couldn’t be sure about it.’
Mrs Andrews later added: ‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I coughed to make it sound as if I was waking up and moved around.’
Asked by prosecutor Iain Wicks what happened next, she replied: ‘I then moved as though I was getting up and when I looked again he had put himself away and looked like he was asleep.’
The 12-strong jury heard Mrs Andrews got up and alerted Ms Morey.
The pair went into the office area, but then Mrs Andrews went back out and told Hill she needed to speak to him in the office.
Mr Wicks said: ‘He was confronted by Nicola Andrews with what she had seen.
‘He denied it. He said he wouldn’t do anything like that, perhaps he had been asleep and he wouldn’t do anything like that. Nicola Andrews told the defendant that he would have to leave and he obliged and did so.’
Susan Morey said while giving evidence that during the confrontation Hill said: ‘Well that’s my career down the pan.’
She later added that after he was let out of the gate Hill said: ‘This is going to be some merry Christmas.’
The court heard Hill sent a text message shortly after 6am that day. It read: ‘I can’t believe what’s happened I don’t know what you think you saw but I swear I’ve done nothing wrong. Please when you’re finished at work call me.’
But the police had already been called. Officers arrived at Hill’s home at about 7.45am and he was arrested.