A TEACHER accused of mistreating pupils at a residential school told police of being “appalled” by the allegations made against him, a jury has heard.

Five men aged between 62 and 78 are on trial at Carlisle Crown Court. They deny charges which allege they were responsible for the physical abuse or cruelty of boys while working at Witherslack Hall, near Grange-over-Sands, during the 1970s and 1980s.

Jurors began to hear interviews the five ex-staff members gave to police as they investigated allegations of physical abuse made by a number of different former pupils.

Roger Whitehouse, who was a teacher and later deputy head at Witherslack Hall, denies four charges.

When interviewed by police, he insisted there “weren’t any punishments as such” at Witherslack Hall, where he would merely give children a “good telling off”.

Whitehouse, of Sea View, Haverigg, is alleged to have assaulted two pupils he caught smoking. But he denied those accusations, telling an officer in relation to anyone caught smoking: “There wasn’t any systematic punishment from me or anybody else.”

The 78-year-old denied making different boys run or walk in bare feet on rough tracks. When asked whether children had been hit with a plimsoll shoe - as alleged - he replied: “No. We didn’t do that.”

Whitehouse, who also said boys weren’t made to wear PE kit for misbehaving, told police: “I am appalled at these accusations against me.” He was asked: “Did you see any other teachers use any inappropriate punishments?”

Whitehouse replied: “No.”

Three other men each deny one charge alleging single actual bodily harm assaults on different pupils. They are Andrew Elliot, 68, of Main Street, Greatford, Stamford, Lincolnshire; Michael Lynch, 72, of Kirkhead Road, Grange-over-Sands; and Glyn Waterhouse, 62, of Stainton, near Kendal. A fifth man, 69-year-old Alec Greening, of Dalton, near Burton-in-Kendal, denies one charge alleging child cruelty.

The trial, now in its third week, continues.