AN ex-assistant headteacher accused of performing an indecent act in front of sleeping children at a Christmas party says he was shocked to be accused of the crime.
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.
He 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.
Hill, of Mallory Crescent, Fareham, who has no previous convictions, denies outraging public decency by committing an act of a lewd, obscene and disgusting nature in the early hours while the children were asleep. During cross-examination by prosecutor Iain Wicks, Hill said his reaction was one of shock when confronted by Nicola Andrews and deputy play leader Sue Morey as he was definitely not performing a lewd act.
He said: ‘I was upset that someone I had known for 20 years had accused me of doing something I would regard as disgusting.’
Asked by Miss Bahra while giving evidence if he committed the crime, Hill replied: ‘Absolutely not, no.’
Asked what he was doing at the time site leader Mrs Andrews claims she saw him performing the act, Hill replied: ‘I was asleep.’
When Miss Bahra asked if Mrs Andrews had ‘just got this wrong,’ Hill, who has no previous convictions, said: ‘She has.’
A supporting statement a friend of 21 years, Steve Kinghorn, which was read out in court revealed Hill once worked at a summer camp in New York and was a lifeguard for Natalie Portman.
The character reference by Mr Kinghorn, an account manager, read: ‘I recall that Matt once told me that one of the people who he was a lifeguard for was Natalie Portman, the Hollywood actress.
‘When I said to him, jokingly, “that must have been a difficult job”, he pulled me up on my comment and said it was inappropriate as Natalie Portman was only in her teens at the time.
‘He could have just gone along with my humour but he felt it was important to make this point of principle.’
He added in the statement read out at Portsmouth Crown Court by defence barrister Narita Bahra: ‘Matt is a man of principle. He treats men and woman and children with respect. He looks out for his friends. He is intelligent, kind and generous and I value his counsel.’
The court heard that shortly after 5am, Mrs Andrews woke up again and saw Hill performing a sex act.
Mrs Andrews said during evidence that he was near a child, who was asleep facing him, with his head in line with Hill’s midriff.
Hill is alleged to have committed the offence in the early hours of December 23, 2012.