A FORMER Witherslack Hall teacher has told a jury an alleged attack by him on a pupil "never happened".

Michael Lynch, 72, became the fourth of five ex-staff members from the Grange-over-Sands residential school to give evidence at Carlisle Crown Court.

Lynch and four other men are on trial. They each deny charges alleging the mistreatment of pupils during the 1970s or 1980s.

Lynch told the court he was a married father-of-three who had attended Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside as a mature student, qualifying as a teacher in 1977.

He retired aged 60, and agreed he had been a "career supply teacher" with a passion for climbing.

Before starting a spell of just over a year at Witherslack Hall, in 1978, he had taught in Ulverston. After leaving the Grange residential school he gained work at a secondary school in Barrow.

Lynch told jurors there was "no corporal punishment" at Witherslack Hall, and "no physical punishment". Sanctions included pupils being put in PE kit "- but "never put outside in all weathers", he stressed - and the withdrawal of home leave for more serious indiscretions.

He did NOT remember administering the PE kit sanction himself, nor reporting a youngster for such.

Lynch denies one alleged assault on a boy. That male, Peter Taylor, has alleged to jurors he was "punched" and "kicked" after being asked to work on the teacher's Mini - only to be told he did the job wrong.

Yet Lynch claimed no work had been required on his car, nor would he ever have allowed a boy to carry out any such task unsupervised.

"Did you beat him?" his lawyer, Ellen Shaw, asked. Lynch replied: "No."

"Have you ever beaten a child at Witherslack School?" asked Ms Shaw. "No," Lynch responded.

"Have you ever beaten any child," asked the lawyer. Again, Lynch replied: "No."

During cross-examination, Lynch, of Kirkhead Road, Grange-over-Sands, reiterated that the alleged incident "never happened".