School sex abuse trial collapses

William Henry Smith School
William Henry Smith School

THE trial of a former assistant headteacher facing 22 sexual abuse charges has collapsed.

Peter Merrick, 66, was cleared of one allegation of indecent assault on a male person at William Henry Smith School, Rastrick, on Tuesday.

But after further deliberations yesterday, Wednesday, the jury at Bradford Crown Court failed to agree on any of the remaining charges.

Judge Robert Bartfield finally discharged the jury on the 11th day of the trial after they had been considering the evidence in the case for more than 12 hours.

Prosecutor Matthew Bean indicated that re-trial was likely.

It is expected that a decision on a second trial will be made over the next few weeks and the case has been listed for a further mention on May 11.

Merrick, of Burton Road, Overseal, Derbyshire, faced allegations relating to his time at the Boothroyd Lane school in the late 1970s and early 1980s.