ANN Maguire’s brutal murder at a school in Leeds last month has been used as an example of the grudges pupils can hold against their teachers by Alexander Thomas in his trial at Swindon Crown Court.

Thomas, 30, is on trial for five counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity while in a position of trust and two counts of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust.

The suspended teacher, of Queen Elizabeth Drive in Taw Hill, denies all the charges.

In his second day at the stand as a defence witness he said he assumed the alleged lies being told by five teenage girls are the result of grudges they hold against him, like the grudge Mrs Maguire faced when she was stabbed in front of her class.

“There are occasions, quite clearly, where as teachers, we say something that upsets students and embarrasses them, that they take far more seriously than we would recognise,” he said.

“She (one of his accusers) may have had a grudge against me, and there is evidence where she came on to me and I ignored her advances.

“I still see numerous examples where teachers try and discipline someone and it has a more profound effect than we would recognise.

“Take the teacher stabbing in Leeds. She would have had no idea the student felt that strongly that he wanted to attack her.

“There are extreme effects we are not aware of. It’s quite common for students to have that kind of hatred for teachers.”