Four men accused of 'physical and sexual assault against school pupils'

Philip Barton, Angus Munn, Ian Nutman and Robert De Koning entered not guilty pleas to 62 charges.

Philip Barton, Angus Munn, Ian Nutman and Robert De Koning accused of ‘assaulting pupils at Fife school’ STV News

Four men have gone on trial accused of committing a string of physical and sexual offences against 34 pupils who attended a school in Fife.  

Philip Barton, 66, Angus Munn, 58, Ian Nutman, 63, and Robert De Koning, 68, entered not guilty pleas to a total of 62 charges on Friday at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Prosecutors claim the men committed the alleged offences at a school in Fife, which cannot be named for legal reasons, between June 18, 1982 and March 23, 2006. 

A jury heard the contents of a legal document detailing the charges during the first day of proceedings.  

One of the charges claim that Barton, of Burntisland, Fife, and Mr Nutman, of Kirkcaldy, used “lewd, indecent and libidinous practices” on “various occasions” towards a girl by watching her as she was naked in a communal shower and bathroom. 

The alleged offence took place between June 1982 and November 7, 1985, when the girl was said to have been 12-years-old.

In another charge, Nutman is said to have physically assaulted the girl on an occasion between June 18, 1982 and November 1985. 

Prosecutors claim that Nutman seized her by her clothing and caused her breathing to “be restricted” before causing her to fall before dragging her along the ground. 

The Crown claims Nutman assaulted the girl to “the danger of her life”.

In another charge De Koning, of Glenrothes, Fife, is said to have sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy on various occasions between November 26, 1999 and November 25, 2000.

On an occasion between September 1, 1998 and May 20, 1999, Munn, of Burntisland, Fife, is said to have seized a boy by his body before forcing him to the ground and lying on top of him. 

Munn is accused of causing his breathing “to be restricted” and this was “to the danger of his life”. Prosecutors say the youth was aged 15 at the time of the alleged assault. 

Lawyers representing the quartet have entered not guilty pleas. Lawyers for Barton have lodged special defences of self-defence in relation to a number of the charges. 

Judge Lord Arthurson told jurors that the trial against the four men was expected to last ten weeks. 

The case continues on Monday. 

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