14/08/2014 16:50 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

'15 Months Of Hell': Teacher Cleared After Girls Lied About Inappropriate Touching

Teacher cleared after girls, aged 11-16, lied that he touched them

A science teacher accused of inappropriately touching girl pupils has been cleared of sexual assault.

Christopher Hird, 48, was maliciously accused of the offences by three girls aged 11 to 16, who said he leaned over them during chemistry lessons.

Mr Hird, a teacher for 24 years and also head of science at South Holderness Technology College in Hull, East Yorkshire was repeatedly told the case would be dropped because all three allegations amounted to less than one minute of contact.

But instead he was hauled through the courts, suspended from his £38,000-a-year job, and forced to wait 15 months to prove his innocence.

After a six-day trial, a jury agreed with Mr Hird's case that his contact with the girls was accidental and innocent.

One pupil had even gone to the headteacher of the school to stop the case because he thought it was malicious - but the boy was not listened to.

But at Hull Crown Court, Mr Hird was found not guilty of two charges of sexual assault, one of sexual activity with a child and another of indecent assault.

He said: "I have been through 15 months of hell for no good reason. It should never have come to court. I knew I was innocent.

"My lawyers kept saying it would be dropped, but no one wanted to make that common sense decision.

"My thoughts were only for the children's welfare. When I moved around the classroom to lean over children it was only in the proper context. My motives were pure.

"You don't expect a knife in the back from a child, but innocent teachers run a daily risk of having their lives destroyed by false claims from children. I am afraid the teaching profession is under siege from similar complaints."

The case was sparked by a girl who told a friend she would 'get him done' for touching her hair while using a paper towel to remove ink sprayed on her face by a disruptive pupil in a lesson.

She was unhappy that he had moved hair out of the way and told her mother, saying he had put his hand near her crotch and brushed her thigh. Mr Hird denied any touching had taken place at all.

He said the girl had not liked it when he told her to take her coat off in a lesson and she had refused.

The jury heard there were two other complaints from girls of touching as he leant across them.

One girl claimed he pulled a paper towel out from under her bottom and touched her buttock.

Mr Hird said the girls had made up the allegations. He told police one girl was probably just after compensation because she only came forward after reading about his arrest in the local newspaper.

Mr Hird will now have his suspension reviewed by the local authority.