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  • "Justice at last! I tell you, this country is going down the pan! I think of the children who saw or heard about this incident. Were they spoken to about it afterwards? As a parent who saw it, I hope the teacher was looked after by management afterwards. An awful experience!"
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Couple assaulted Thornton Heath primary teacher in front of pupils

First published in Education News by , Chief Reporter

A primary school teacher was assaulted by two parents in the playground for upsetting their child.

Jennifer Thorne, a teacher at Kensington Avenue Primary School, was leaving the school building to collect her class when the parents of one of her seven-year-old pupils forced themselves through the door.

Croydon Magistrates Court heard the boy's mother Shan Shan Su and her partner Derek Hoilett attacked the teacher in front of pupils on December 14 last year, after Su's son came home from the Thornton Heath school crying the previous day.

Prosecutor Nicola Calnan said: "Miss Su grabbed hold of her scarf and coat and pulled her so much she ended up facing the opposite way to the door.

"Mr Hoilett proceeded to push Mrs Thorne with his left hand, she saw him pull at one of the parents who was trying to assist her.

"Miss Su was still screaming hysterically in a Chinese dialect and punched Mrs Thorne in the left arm twice. She then proceed to kick her twice on the left shin.

"Mrs Thorne described Miss Su as shouting incoherently as if she were possessed and said her partner was foaming at the mouth and staring."

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Mrs Thorne, a teacher for nearly 18 years, told the court: "I felt unreal. I thought 'this couldn't have happened to me'. I thought it was part of some horror story. I was very shocked, very hurt and extremely upset."

In the weeks following the attack Mrs Thorne suffered ongoing pain and panic attacks as a result of the incident.

District Judge Robert Hunter, returning a guilty verdict in the case of Hoilett, said: "I have to say that I accept the evidence of the complainant and in this circumstance I find the case proved."

Su changed her plea to guilty at the start of the trial.

The couple will be sentenced at Croydon Magistrates Court on July 4.

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