Burnley headteacher attacked in his school

ATTACKED: Headteacher Kieran Heakin
ATTACKED: Headteacher Kieran Heakin

A DEVOTED headteacher was imprisoned in his office and attacked by an angry parent – a court was told.

This is the second time that Kieran Heakin (60) has been assaulted. He was left with appalling injuries after being jumped and beaten by a former pupil in 2009.

And then he was subjected to this distressing incident in which a dad grabbed Mr Heakin by the throat and tried to knee and headbutt him in his office at St John The Baptist RC Primary School in Thames Avenue, Burnley.

This week, Burnley magistrates handed Mr Heakin’s attacker a suspended prison sentence after he was found guilty of two counts of assault by beating.

The court was told that Mr Heakin was left sore and bruised after the man’s violent outburst on November 22nd. The defendant also assaulted Mr Heakin’s colleague, Mrs Susan Quinn, in the fracas.

Prosecutor Carl Gaffney told the hearing that the defendant had a tendency to lose his temper and cause trouble.

He said that the man blocked the door to prevent the headteacher from leaving his office and then assaulted him. Mrs Quinn went to intervene to defend the victim.

Mr Gaffney added: “I think Mr Heakin felt tainted because of what had taken place in his office, in his place of work.”

The defendant denied the charges but was found guilty after a trial in June and was, this week, given 16 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, with a 12-month supervision order and a 12-week curfew between 7pm to 7am. He was also ordered to pay £100 compensation and £200 costs.

Julian Goode (defending) said the defandant had expressed remorse for his actions. The barrister said: “He makes no attempt to justify his actions by any means at all. He accepts his actions were unjustifiable and should not have taken place.”

The defendant, a full-time carer who was on benefits, was enthusiastic about a supervision order and thought it would help his issues in his daily life. He suffered from mental health difficulties. Mr Goode added: “Perhaps with some help from the probation service, he can put his offending behind him.”

Sentencing, the bench told the defendant there was absolutely no excuse for what he had done.

The chairman continued: “Headteachers and all teachers deserve the protection of the courts to be able to carry out their jobs, in often very difficult circumstances.”

In February 2009, Mr Heakin, who has twice been the Mayor of Whitworth, suffered horrific facial injuries after he was set upon and beaten unconscious by a former pupil.

Mr Heakin, who was described at the time as popular, well-respected and a “ great teacher”, was subjected to repeated punches and kicks to the head by Jermaine Bullen, who held a 19-year grudge against his former teacher.

In April 2010, Bullen, then 26, was jailed indefinitely for causing grievous bodily harm and was told he must serve at least three years behind bars. Mr Heakin suffered a broken nose, a fractured cheekbone and eye socket and cracked ribs as well as losing his senses of taste and smell and had been left deaf in his left ear.

Mr Heakin, who has now been teaching for 37 years, underwent surgery to have four steel plates fixed in his head, as well as arch bars to fix together his upper and lower jaws.He had to be off work for three months.