Tees

Stockton supply teacher denies choosing job to access young girls

Jonathan Clayton
Image caption Jonathan Clayton is accused of carrying out sexual assaults on primary school pupils as young as seven

A supply teacher accused of sexual assault has denied he went into primary teaching to gain access to young girls.

Jonathan Clayton, 27, denies carrying out sexual assaults on primary school pupils as young as seven.

A jury at Teesside Crown Court heard he admitted letting one pupil sit on his knee but said she had been crying hysterically.

Mr Clayton, from Stockton, said he had put his arm around her to try to reassure her.

When asked by his barrister David Come if access to young girls was the reason he became a teacher, he said: "No, absolutely not."

Teaching made him felt like he had a purpose and was making a difference, he said.

'Never happened'

Jurors have heard Mr Clayton faced a similar allegation involving a pupil at a previous school he was teaching at in 2017, although charges were dropped.

Prosecution barrister Richard Bennett asked him: "Have seven young girls in two separate schools decided to lie about you?"

Mr Clayton replied: "Yes. It simply never happened."

The second school's head teacher had no idea about the previous allegation and was horrified when she found out, the court heard.

Mr Clayton, who was dismissed after the later allegations were made, denies 13 sexual assaults on six girls aged between seven and 11.

The trial continues.

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