A former Bristol headteacher is in court accused of indecently touching a 16-year-old girl.
Alistair Perry, who used to be the headteacher at Colston’s Girls’ School (CGS), is in the dock at Cardiff Crown Court charged with the attacks.
The 46-year-old, who lived in Weston-super-Mare at the time of the incidents, is facing two counts of indecent assault of a 16-year-old girl. It is alleged the attacks took place in 2000, and it would take 16 years before it came to light.
The trial of the former maths teacher, now of Colaton Raleigh in Devon, is set to last five days. The former headteacher left CGS at the end of the 2016/17 academic year.
You can follow the latest updates from court in our live blog below, and get updates to your phone.
A day-by-day account
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This is the end of today’s proceedings in court.
We will have a round up soon of everything we heard today.
Stay with us.
Perry’s police interview
The jury is now hearing a transcript of Perry’s police interview.
In it, Perry denies the allegations made by the victim.
More to come.
Defence has now taken over the cross examination.
The deacon says the meeting was relatively short, and that Perry did not deny the allegation, but neither did he admit to it.
That is the end of his evidence.
Any other action
“No I didn’t. I only spoke to the church leaders.”
He said from the church’s point of view, it had been resolved. They had told him it was “not appropriate” and that “we would not judge him. It’s a matter for him and God.”
“I think he just accepted it. He would have expected it. He wasn’t surprised – he didn’t really respond.”
The judge asked if the mindset of the church to deal with matters like that. What was the aim?
“The aim was made it quite clear how he should behave as as a Christian person, that is what we were trying to do.
“It’s a matter for him and God – his own faith and relationship with God.
“I didn’t try to probe whatever he did.”
They took him off leadership roles in the church, including leading in worship time.
“It’s quite normal if someone is suspected of something you don’t want to give people opportunity to get involved in anything else.
“You won’t stop them coming to church.”
Meeting with Perry
“We met within a fortnight. I imagined I told him I needed to meet with him and we agreed to meet in one of the church Portakabin rooms.”
It was just the witness and Perry in the room.
“I told him that I learned he had touched the victim’s breast and it was not appropriate for a Christian person.
“I had gone to the meeting with him. I went with Scripture and let him know it was totally inappropriate, but made it clear to him it was a matter between him and God and the church. God will judge him.
“We will not be condemning him, because it’s not our role to do that.
“He was quiet most of the time, I seem to recall, and he did not say he was guilty or he was innocent and I did not push the point with him. It was not what I was there to do.”
The relationship and allegation
“I knew Perry but not terribly well. I knew him as a member of the church and at one stage, I might be in his home group.
“I think that’s the only way. I was not socially a friend of his.
“I suspect it was [the victim’s dad] who told me about the allegation. It was about Alistair Perry having touched the breast of [the girl].”
He said he was not aware but he believe “it was over the clothing” but he imagined that was what it was.
He didn’t ask for any information. The deacons decided to find someone to speak to him from a “spiritual perspective”, and the witness was asked to do so.
He explains deacons run the day-to-day of the church and goes to church meeting. He was one of four deacons.
“It was a time of fair amount of transition. I can’t remember if we had a minister in 2000.”
Before the new minister, he served as a deacon with the victim’s dad, who prepared the morning worships.
The victim’s uncle
The victim’s uncle, himself a pastor, said he remembers a conversation with his brother-n-law – the victim’s dad – about the “inappropriate touching” but not the details of the conversation.
He said he regularly gave advice often as a pastor, so can’t remember every conversation.
IT is given in the form of a statement.
Next up is a deacon at the church where Perry and the victim’s family attended.
Here we go.
Jury just coming back in now. First up is the uncle of the victim.
It is worth point out at this point that the victim of any alleged sexual assault have automatic anonymity for life.
That is the reason why we cannot name her dad, mum, cousin or any relation which might identify her.
We’re about to restart the afternoon session
There has been a slight delay. The lawyers are now discussing which documents and witnesses will come up this afternoon and tomorrow, and how long the trial is expected to last.
Dad’s second statement
The dad made a second statement in October 2017, shortly before he died.
He told officers he stood by everything he said in his first statement and that he would have called the police if he had realised it had been done on more than one occasion.
He said he had expected Perry to deny the allegations, but that Perry had admitted it without hesitation.
Defending, Mr Burgess told the jury the dad would have been cross examined if he had taken the stand.
He said the defendant disagreed with the statement in that he never admitted he had done anything.
Mr Burgess told the court Perry had not been asked round to the house, but he had actually been on a walk with his son Jack and decided to pop in for “a social visit”.
The court has now broken up for lunch. We will be back before 2.10pm.
The church knew
The church, which cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, had leaders who knew about the alleged sexual assaults, the court hears.
The dad had gone to to leadership team, and they did not disagree with his plans not to go to the police.
At that point, they removed Perry from leadership roles and tried to make sure he had no further contact with children in the church.
The court heard a new minister joined after the dad left the area, and he had asked if they should press charges. Again, it did not happen.
Why didn’t he ring the police?
The court heard the dad of the victim had been a police officer for 15 years, but did not want to report it to the police after speaking with Perry.
He said he was concerned with the “invasive question” of her daughter and that he was worried police might not believe her.
He also thought Perry would lose his job as a teacher if this came to light and that this was a “disproportionate” punishment, if he was found guilty.
The dad added he had thought it was only the one occasion and believed Perry when he said he would not do it again.
‘He admitted it straight away’
The dad said in his statement that Perry admitted he had touched the girl as soon as he was confronted with the issue.
He added Perry had “no hesitation” and that he “apologised” and promised not to do it again, and added he had never done it before.
He gave his first statement in September 2016, shortly after the victim went to the police. Here goes:
The dad moved into the leadership role at the church after the pastor left. During that time, they got to know the Perrys, who attended the same home group as them.
He recalls Perry offering to tutor his daughter, and going to the church camp with her. He said he had concerns about her behaviour with him on the phone, and wanted to speak to him when he went back home.
Some time during the camp, he heard from his wife Perry had touched her daughter on her chest. He spoke to her and he invited Perry to come round to his house when he got back to Weston-super-Mare.
This is a unique situation.
The victim’s dad, who first gave his statement to police in September 2016, sadly passed away in October last year. His statements – there are two – will be read to court by the prosecution. She will tell the court he did it under declaration.
The defence is disputing the facts of that statement, and said should the dad had been in court, he would have been cross examined based on those statements.
It will be nearly impossible to type verbatim on what happened, but we’ll try our hardest to give you an understanding of it.
There will be a round up at the end of the day which will include full quotes.
That is the end of the mum’s evidence and she leaves the stand this morning.
The next stage is the reading the statements of the victim’s father, who passed away in October last year.
Disclosure at bible camp
“I spoke to my husband first. We both ended up speaking to her. She said there was some touching of her breasts over her clothes.”
The victim’s dad then took over discussions with Perry about what had happened to her daughter.
She said it was a discussion to talk to Perry about what happened.
WE now go back to the prosecution lawyer Sarah Waters
Defence takes over
She was aware Perry taught Maths before, but was principally a history teacher.
“As far as I remember, he was a member of our home group.
“We did not know she was dyslexic, but she struggled with Maths. It was an anxious time for her and her family.”
She said she took him up on the offer to tutor her daughter.
Mr Burgess, defending, asks if the mum remembers dropping her daughter at Perry’s house. She said she can’t remember taking Mrs PErry to her house for the home group.
What happened next?
“I was aware my husband spoke to my brother in law and get some advice about it,” her mum said.
“Some time later, we were contacted by the new minister of the church and he spoke to my husband and said Perry can asked if he could come round.”
The defence takes over now.
‘We didn’t report it to the police’
When asked what her daughter told her, she was visibly distressed.
“She told us it was when she had been to his house for tutoring and he had touched her breasts over her clothes,” she said.
“We finished the camp and we came back and discuss how it was going to be handled.
“It was my husband and I. My husband took it on then. WE discussed with her what was going to happen and we decided I would support [my daughter] and my husband would deal with it.
“We were aware that at that time it would have been quite traumatic for her if we reported it to the police.
“When we spoke to Perry, it would be handled by my husband. He took on the role of speaking to Mr Perry.
“My role was to support [my daughter]. She wanted it to be sorted and starting college.
“She wanted it to be dealt with and in the past.”
‘Touched her breasts’
“It was so Mr Perry’s wife could come to the home group.”
Perry lived about a mile from the victim’s house, the court heard.
“I can’t be sure who was in the home group then. She didn’t say anything to me of concern.”
The court heard they had gone to church camp up in Midlands with her niece, who gave evidence earlier. Her daughter came to her.
“She came to me visibly upset and that Mr Perry had touched her breasts while she was in his house.
“That was the gist of what she said to me. The conversation was very brief.
“I went straight to look for my husband and we very soon went to have a conversation with [our daughter].”
Contact with Perry?
“She was 16 and struggling with Maths and Mr Perry offered his help to tutor her.
“I can’t remember how that offer came about. It was a direct offer to us. We knew what he did for a living.”
Perry was a Maths teacher at Colston’s Girls’ School in 2000.
“It was arranged I would take her to his house after Sunday lunch. I didn’t stay with her.
“I don’t remember how long she was there for. As far I remember, the tutoring happened the once, but she also baby sat for him.”
She now takes the stand.
When she first joined as members of the church in the 1990s, her husband became a deacon and then an elder. She became a church worker, and both were involved in the worship group.
When asked how she knew the Perrys, she said: “We were more than acquaintances, but not friends.”
They were in the same home group – a small pastoral group made of people from the church.
“It would have been adults only, usually evenings.”
That brings the end of her cross examination.
Next up is the alleged victim’s mum, who again, cannot be named to protect the identity of her daughter.
“I remember her telling me something inappropriate happened and I wanted to speak to her mum. I was not given a name, but I recall her saying it was someone from her church. It was a male.”
The court heard she cannot remember what her cousin said he had done.
“I must have thought it was something inappropriate to want to speak to [her mum].”
She went to speak to the victim’s mum on the campsite and explained everything she said to her. She said she couldn’t remember the time.
“I remember he was a married man who had been in the church and that it happened while she might have been babysitting.”
Cousin takes the stand
Her cousin has now taken the stand. She cannot be named, for legal reasons.
“When we were at a church camp in the summer of 2000, it would have been in the school holidays,” she explained.
“It was when I first started dating my now husband, that’s how I remember it was 2000.
“It was a bible camp and everyone was in tents. It was in the Midlands. I went with my church at the time.”
She said she spent a fair amount of time with her cousin. She was 25 years old at the time, and she was working as a junior doctor at that time.
“I can’t remember how it came to pass. We were having a walkabout and had a conversation she told me that I was quite concerned about and we spoke to her mum.”
Who to take the stand next
We’ll shortly be hearing from the victim’s cousin and her mum.
Both cannot be named because of victims of alleged sexual assaults are given lifelong anonymity.
Their evidence is crucial – the girl opened up to her cousin shortly after the attacks, and they spoke to the girl’s mum after.
But no action was taken until 16 years later.
We’re about to find out why.
Round up so far…
Taking to the stand this morning, the alleged victim was asked why she allowed her psychiatrist to go to the police on her behalf in May 2016.
She said: “I knew he was a headteacher at a school and had plenty of opportunities to do anything else if he wanted to.”
The girl’s parents and cousin had known about the attacks shortly after they happened in 2000, but her parents decided against taking it to the police.
It would be 16 years later that she would come forward, but she did not want to worry her family.
Defending, Mr Burgess asked her if she might have developed affections for Perry and “wanted him to find her attractive”.
She answered “no” on both counts, and explained she had been asked to go to Perry’s place for extra tuition by her parents, who thought she was struggling with her GCSE revision.
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