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PE teacher denies smacking boy, 4, in football lesson | UK News

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A PE teacher accused of smacking a four-year-old on the knees has claimed he gave the child a high-five, a court has heard.

Prosecutors say Ian Webber, 54, slapped or smacked the boy twice on the knees as he had a tantrum during an after-school football class in May last year.

Webber is then alleged to have lifted him off the ground before taking him onto a stage in the hall of a West Midlands school.

However, the PE teacher said he was not angry and found it “comedic” when the youngster punched and kicked him during the football class.

He told Birmingham Magistrates Court on Tuesday that tendons in his shoulder meant he would have been unable to pick up the child.

Giving evidence in his defence, Webber said he took the boy to sit on a bench in the hall after seeing him shouting and pushing at a table in a corridor.

Webber, a teacher since 2002, told the court: “I tried coaxing him and he wasn’t compliant. He was pulling and tugging at me.”

PE teacher Ian Webber is standing trial at Birmingham Magistrates Court
Image:
PE teacher Ian Webber is standing trial at Birmingham Magistrates Court

The four-year-old, who cannot be named because of an anonymity order, then began to pull Post-it notes off a display, the court heard.

Webber continued: “I didn’t want him to keep on pulling the display to pieces so I said ‘let’s move to the stage’.

“I said ‘we’re friends now?’ and ‘we’re happy now?’ and gave him a high-five with my right hand, and then he walked to the middle of the floor.

“He started running around and playing the game with the other boys. He was quite content.”

Webber denied he had hit the boy at any stage, reaffirming that “there was no contact at all apart from the high-five”.

Video interviews giving accounts of the incident from four young boys, including the four-year-old, were played to court.

It was claimed the boy was struck by the teacher.

A parent who was collecting a child also said she had seen Webber move his arm and heard a smacking sound.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she heard Mr Webber say: “If you do that again you will get a smack”.

She said: “I just saw a flash of arm. I didn’t see much else.

“Then I heard this slapping, smacking sound and then I heard it again shortly afterwards.”

The alleged victim’s mother, who also gave evidence to the court, said she was left embarrassed after a coach said her son had kicked Webber.

She said her son looked sad when she came to collect him and said he later claimed to have been smacked on each knee.

Webber denies the charge against him.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

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