Portsmouth teacher accused of performing sex act in front of children

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Youngsters at Manor Infant School and Nursery celebrate with headteacher Ashley Howard, centre. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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A FORMER assistant headteacher has denied performing a sex act in front of children, telling a jury he would never behave in that way.

Matthew Hill, 40, is accused of outraging public decency by committing an act of a lewd, obscene and disgusting nature.

The incident is alleged to have happened while Hill was volunteering at Buckland Play Centre in Malins Road, Buckland on December 23 2012.

The jury at Portsmouth Crown Court heard that Hill had arrived at the centre on the night of December 22 for a sleepover for 18 children.

The youngsters, aged between six and 13, enjoyed a Christmas dinner, watched DVDs and played games. At around 10pm the children started to go to sleep.

Hill, who was assistant headteacher at Lyndhurst Junior School in North End, was sleeping in the main hall but moved to the back room at around 3.30am, as he said he was cold. Another group of children were sleeping in there with two other adults.

‘I walked in and put my sleeping bag over the mat,’ Hill said.

‘I was asleep very quickly because it was a nice relief after being so freezing cold, to be in a room that was so warm.

‘The next thing I remember was being woken up.’

A member of staff at the centre, who can’t be named for legal reasons, alleges she woke up and saw Hill performing a sex act at around 5.30am.

‘I made a coughing noise as if I was waking up,’ she said.

‘When I turned round he had put himself away.’

When prosecutor Rob Griffits questioned Hill about his actions he responded by saying: ‘It didn’t happen.’

He added: ‘There was a room full of people and there’s no way I would do anything like that in a room full of people, never mind a room full of children.’

After the incident, the member of staff got up and went and told a colleague.

Hill was confronted about it and immediately denied it.

He then offered to leave the centre.

He later sent a text to his colleague saying ‘I can’t believe what’s just happened.

‘I don’t know what you think you saw but I swear I have done nothing wrong. Please when you’re finished at work call me.’

Hill was arrested at his home at 7.45am that day.

The trial is expected to reach its conclusion today.