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‘Abuse of power’: Former head declared his love for trainee teacher, court hears

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A former head teacher committed a “classic abuse of power” by exerting his position over a 23-year-old trainee, a court has heard.Greg Hill, the former head of Howard Junior School in Gaywood, appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court today as a three-day trial got under way.He is accused of harassment without violence against a trainee teacher who worked under him at the school, as well as resisting arrest and breaching bail conditions. He denies all charges.

Greg Hill’s trial got under way at Lynn Magistrates’ Court today

Throughout today’s proceedings, Chloe Regester – the alleged victim – gave evidence while being questioned by senior crown prosecutor Monali Raleraskar.She told the court that the ordeal has left her feeling “petrified”, “vulnerable” and “fuming”, alleging that Hill listened into her conversations at school, declared his love for her and took photographs of her car while she was celebrating her brother’s birthday.Hill was first arrested in connection with the harassment offence in March last year, and was subsequently charged with resisting that arrest. He has denied the allegations from the outset and launched a complaint against Norfolk Police after his arrest – claiming he had a panic attack during the incident before being kept in custody for 15 hours.In February this year, Hill was also charged with breaking bail conditions which required him to notify the police of all social media accounts he uses. The trial will continue in Lynn tomorrow morning, and is scheduled to conclude in Norwich on Friday.‘A CLASSIC ABUSE OF POWER’In her opening statement, barrister Ms Raleraskar told the court that Ms Regester was first hired at Howard Junior School in September 2021 as a newly-qualified teacher. She had recently graduated from Durham University, and this was her first full-time role.Hill, meanwhile, had been head teacher at the school for ten years – and had worked there for around 15 years in total.Ms Raleraskar said the crown believes Hill “categorically” knew, or ought to have known, that someone in his position dealing with a junior member of staff should have known his behaviour amounted to harassment.She described it as a “classic abuse of power situation” where he “exerted his position over a naive, much more inexperienced member of staff”. Hill, who appeared in court wearing a suit and tie with a gold watch, shook his head throughout much of the proceedings.EVIDENCE FROM THE ALLEGED VICTIMAppearing via a video link, Ms Regester said she was a key skills stage two teacher at the Gaywood school, and was responsible for a Year 4 class.She said she was “absolutely ecstatic” to be given the job as she had always wanted to be a teacher – but that soon after her start, Hill began to contact her on X (at the time Twitter) using the school’s platforms. Messages started with the likes of: “Fantastic Tweet, that is the spirit.” As this continued, Ms Regester claimed that other staff members became “hostile” towards her because she was being “favouritised by Greg Hill”.The court heard that Hill soon started to message Ms Regester privately asking about school return dates, and would on occasion send heart emojis and kisses – which she sometimes returned.She argued that she does this on a regular basis as a “young girl”, and did not mean anything by it.Ms Regester said that Hill’s messages soon took a turn for the worse as he attempted to “segregate” her from fellow teachers. He told her not to associate with teaching assistants on staff nights out, and at the time she took his advice on board.“I thought that a respectable head teacher with all that experience would be able to guide me,” she said today.“I think that I was being segregated from other members of staff. He had a very good way of putting words down onto a screen that affected me.“It was a bit like mind games.” Meanwhile, the court was also told that at one stage, Hill sent a message to the complainant saying: “Chloe, I would love to build a future for us inside and outside of school.”On another, he said: “I have fallen in love with you. It will take time to adjust, but each day is getting easier.”Speaking through tears in court, Ms Regester said she was “not enjoying life” at that time – and insisted she had always made clear she did not want to pursue a relationship with Hill.THE ALLEGED HARASSMENT Today, the district judge overseeing the trial was told about numerous incidents which amounted to the alleged harassment of Ms Regester.He heard that after Queen Elizabeth II passed away in 2022, Howard Junior School went into a period of mourning.Hill took groups of pupils to Sandringham each day the following week to lay flowers, Ms Regester said, and continually asked her to accompany him. She claims she asked to remain behind to teach her new class of children, but was told to go along on every occasion.On one occasion, this involved her making a television appearance and meeting Prince William. “Even though he had a school full of staff who were eager to go,” Ms Regester said.“This made me feel really on my own – it put a barrier between me and other staff members again.“I didn’t have a choice – I had to get on that minibus.“Every time I said no, I just had a barrage of, ‘You need to do this for the kids, you are the only one I can put in front of the camera, you have a Durham education’.”Meanwhile, the court was also told of an incident involving Hill embarrassing Ms Regester at a school-wide assembly by stating she was hungover the morning after her birthday.She feels this “slandered” her name.“I was in shock. I think all of the staff were,” she said.“I just couldn’t believe he was saying it, because I don’t drink really anyway.”After this incident, Ms Regester confronted Hill and made a secret recording of the conversation on her phone.Its contents were partly played aloud in court, but technical difficulties mean it is planned to be finished tomorrow.Ms Raleraskar said that Ms Regester is a lesbian, and that on numerous occasions Hill allegedly made references to her “lesbian clothing” and a thumb ring which he said was the sign of a lesbian.This is claimed to have occurred both before and after Hill found out about Ms Regester’s sexuality.Ms Regester also told the court of the moment she was left feeling “fuming” after discovering that Hill had photographs of both her and her partner on his phone.“I was really, really angry that he had her involved,” she said.“I did not think it was okay – I did not think it was right. I think everyone has their limit, and I had reached my limit.”Additionally, the complainant described the day she was visiting her father’s house in Fakenham – close to where Hill lives – for her brother’s birthday.They were said to have spotted Hill taking a photograph of her parked car. When he was confronted, Ms Regester said Hill claimed he was photographing a tree.She then said Hill suggested he was storing the images as he believed Ms Regester was in fact stalking him.Ms Regester described her fury in court when Hill allegedly suggested that her father would not be able to afford his Fakenham home, and must be renting. She denied this is the case.REPEATED CALLS FOR SUPPORTMs Regester told the court that between March 2022 and February 2023 – when the alleged harassment is said to have taken place – she made numerous reports about Hill to deputy head teacher Sophie Hopkins.However, the court heard today that none of these reports or meetings were officially recorded – while Ms Regester said she was continually told somebody would look into the matter, but nobody ever did.Meanwhile, she was also allegedly confronted by Hill when she attempted to organise a meeting with school governors.Eventually, she was encouraged to fill out a whistleblowing form after feeling she had run out of options.“I had reached my limit and I couldn’t take it anymore,” Ms Regester said today.“I was emotionally at my lowest point I have ever been, and I was literally anxious for everything – and I didn’t have anywhere to turn.”It was after the incident at her father’s home in Fakenham that Ms Regester finally reported Hill to the police.“I was scared for myself,” she added.“I didn’t know what he was capable of and I didn’t know what he was going to do. I was trying to go down the right avenues, and no one was supporting me.”LEAD-UP TO THE TRIALIn February last year, Ms Regester was signed off sick from work by a GP. She spent four weeks at home due to stress caused by anxiety, his barrister told the court.She returned briefly to the school for the start of the summer term, but left permanently after it had concluded.She is expected to provide the rest of her evidence tomorrow in the Lynn court.Meanwhile, Hill, of Valley Way in Fakenham, could take to the stand for the first time.The trial continues.

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