Paul Wilson, 67, who taught mathematics at two schools in Harlow during his career, denies hitting the girl with a slipper for sexual reasons, claiming he only used it as a “motivational tool” when the teenager made mistakes.
He also denies an allegation that he touched the girl’s breasts and her knickers while giving her a whole body massage over her clothes to relieve stress.
Wilson told Chelmsford Crown Court that he and his wife had struggled for the past 18 months to understand why the girl, now aged 17, had said what she did.
“We cannot believe they just turned round and stabbed us in the back,” he told the jury. “My use was now over. Why she decided to make these allegations is a complete mystery.
“She has been exaggerating throughout the whole of this trial. She’s exaggerated, embellished and lied occasionally.”
Wilson began teaching in St Albans before moving on to teach at former Netteswell Grammar in Harlow and then Epping Forest High School before moving to Stewards in Harlow. He was there for 20 years and retired as head of the maths department in 2004.
Wilson said he only used the slipper four times in 27 sessions because the girl’s concentration was poor and she was unable to do mental arithmetic. He insisted it was a “very, very light tap” just below her waist band.
He said the alleged touching incidents during the massage didn’t happen.
Under cross-examination, prosecutor Miles Trigg suggested Wilson did not have the permission from the mother of the girl to use the slipper and the massage were for his own sexual satisfaction. “Absolutely not,” he replied.
He continued: “Nothing inappropriate happened at all. I have absolutely no sexual interest in that girl whatsoever. I have taught thousands of boys and girls who were her age without the slightest suggestion of any wrongdoing. I would not have been allowed to teach for 40 years if there was the slightest suggestion of impropriety.”
Wilson said the idea for using the slipper stemmed from a time in 1969 – when corporal punishment was allowed – from the father of twin girls he tutored but he had never used it since.
“It was the family implement for punishing the girls by the parents,” he said. “I was virtually ordered by the father if either misbehaved I had their full permission to slipper them on the bottom.”