British teacher acquitted of trying to kill pupil

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A British teacher was found not guilty Thursday of attempting to murder a pupil by hitting him with a dumbbell while shouting: "Die, die, die".

Peter Harvey, 50, was accused of attacking a 14-year-old boy at a school in Mansfield, central England, after chasing him around the classroom when he started misbehaving in a lesson.

Harvey had admitted one count of grievous bodily harm without intent but denied a charge of attempted murder and an alternative charge of grievous bodily harm with intent to cause serious injury.

And on Thursday a jury at Nottingham Crown Court took less than two hours to clear him of attempted murder. "Common sense has prevailed now we have heard all the evidence," said judge Michael Stokes.

Prosecutor Stuart Rafferty said during the trial that Harvey started chasing the boy -- who cannot be named -- around the room after he waved about a bunsen burner stand, but that the boy simply swore back at him.

"That seems to have lit the blue touch paper," the prosecutor said, adding: "At the time the blows were being struck Mr. Harvey was only heard to say one thing. What he was saying was 'die, die, die'."

Another student rushed to pull Harvey away from the boy, who was left with a fractured right temple bone and severe cuts to his head, the court heard.

Harvey will return to court on May 21 to be sentenced for grievous bodily harm, but the judge said he would likely be forced to do community service, rather than go to jail.

© 2010 AFP

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