Primary school teacher banned from classroom after assaulting Jehovah's Witness

Samantha Beresford, 51, was convicted at Swansea Magistrates' Court of assault by beating


















A primary school teacher who assaulted a Jehovah's Witness outside a Kingdom Hall while drunk has been suspended from teaching.
Samantha Beresford, 51, was convicted at Swansea Magistrates' Court of assault by beating following an incident outside the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Swansea on July 19, 2016, where she grabbed a worshipper by the neck. 
The Townhill Community School teacher had been celebrating the end of term with colleagues and had been drinking, later describing to officers how she was "eight out of ten" on a drunk scale. 
Mrs Beresford began the confrontation after trying to enter the hall to speak to her sister-in-law, who was someone she had "issues" with regarding her alleged religious views on homosexuality.
A Education Workforce Council (EWC) Fitness to Practice hearing held in Cardiff on Thursday heard details of the incident in Mrs Beresford's absence. 
Case presenter Cadi Dewi said: "Samantha Beresford attempted to enter a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses whilst intoxicated following celebratory drinks at the end of the school term.
"She wanted to confront a relative but that didn't take place.
"There was an altercation with a member of the congregation outside the hall when she refused to leave the premises."
The hearing heard a written statement from Townhill Community School's acting headteacher Karen David, who was the investigating officer looking into Mrs Bereford's case.
Describing the events from Mrs Beresford's point of view, she said: "On her way home, she decided to address historical issues with a relative at their place of worship and she presumed her relative would be there.
"She was swearing about her relative and wanted to speak to them.
"A man came out of the hall and asked her to leave but she tried to get past him.
"He grabbed her wrist and pushed him away and her nail or ring caught his neck and caused a slight scratch.
"She was arrested and charged by the police the next day."
A statement was also read out from the victim of the assault, church member Gavin Young.
He said: "She was shouting when she walked up the path towards me and she was making references to her relative and making references to her religious views on homosexuality.
"She wanted to walk past me through the open door so I grabbed her wrists and she grabbed me by the neck and held on to my throat for five seconds which resulted in a bleed."
Other witnesses said Mrs Beresford was shouting profanities and obscenities, making references to oral sex and calling Mr Young a "f****** b******".
The hearing heard Mrs Beresford was initially dragged away but she returned five to ten minutes later and began shouting behind a locked gate, continuing to shout profanities and making references to "sexual activity".
After the police were called Mrs Beresford left the scene. She was arrested by police the next day.
One of the witnesses said: "The behaviour and language was totally unacceptable but luckily there were no children outside the hall to hear the foul and abusive language."
Mrs Beresford, of Hendrefoilan Road, Sketty, was found guilty of assault by beating and on September 21, 2016, and was fined £600 and ordered to pay £50 in compensation.
David Browne, who represented Mrs Beresford at the NMC hearing, said his client had been employed at Townhill Community School since 1991 and was well thought of.
Reading a statement from his client, Mr Browne said: "Against my better judgement I walked towards the hall, shouting expletives believing my relative to be inside. I had more to drink than usual and was tired after a busy term.
"I deeply regret my actions which led to my arrest and caused great distress to my family.
"The incident continues to have a devastating effect.
"I let myself, my family, my friends, and school down badly and I am ashamed and embarrased. It's something I will regret until the day I die."
In their decision, Fitness to Practice panel chairman Jacqueline Turnbull said Mrs Beresford had not demonstrated a "significant level of insight" into her behaviour and had decided to impose a suspension order for six months.
"Her name will be removed from the teacher's register for that period before she is allowed to reapply."

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