Teacher is found not guilty of abusing pupil at £15,000-a-year Bournemouth Collegiate School


A veteran teacher and rugby coach who trained England star Jonny Wilkinson was unanimously found not guilty of abusing a teenage girl, while the jury slammed police for their ‘poor’ investigation. 

Philip Mulcahy, 58, was accused of indecently assaulting a teenage girl almost a dozen times over two years at the £15,000-a-year Bournemouth Collegiate School.

Yet a jury took just over four hours to return unanimous not guilty verdicts on all three counts and then took the unusual step of writing a note to the judge questioning the decision to bring the case to court.

Philip Mulcahy, 58, (pictured) was found not guilty of indecently assaulting a teenage girl almost a dozen times over two years at a £15,000-a-year private school


Bournemouth Collegiate School (pictured), where Mr Mulcahy taught. He was a teacher for 35 years

The note said: ‘The investigation seems to have been poor and we are unable to understand on what basis the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] brought the case.’

Judge Brian Forster directed counsel that the matter should be brought up with the director of the CPS and the Chief Constable of Dorset Police and thanked them for being ‘such a good jury’.

There were tearful scenes in the courtroom from Mr Mulcahy’s family and some jurors and he thanked them all as they left.

During the trial, the jury heard Mr Mulcahy was a teacher for 35 years and volunteered as a rugby coach for 33 years, even coaching a young Jonny Wilkinson before he played for England.

Because of those roles he had undergone regular safeguarding checks and had never had any allegations of this nature made about him before or been arrested before.

The schoolgirl, who was aged between 12 and 14 at the time, claimed he made her stay behind after class before touching her beneath the table and then telling her ‘well done’.

At the end of the case there were tearful scenes in the courtroom from Mr Mulcahy’s family

On other occasions she said he touched her under her bra and underwear and cornered her in a hotel lift on a school trip and assaulted her.

Mr Mulcahy maintained throughout the incidents had ‘never happened’ and he could not understand why he was being accused.

He told the court he was surprised police only interviewed him once and felt they had not carried out a proper investigation as they did not try to corroborate his version of events, such as speaking to other teachers who were on the school trip or trying to obtain CCTV from the hotel.

The court heard his mobile phone, laptop and iPad were seized when he was arrested and nothing of relevance was found on any device in relation to the case or any sexual interest in young people.

In his summing up of the case Judge Forster said: ‘He thought the police would make more extensive enquiries which, as you know, they did not.’

Several other teachers also gave evidence that Mr Mulcahy was a good and reliable teacher, committed to helping pupils and a ‘stickler for the rules’ and that no one had ever had any concerns about how he behaved and there had never been any suggestion he had been inappropriate with girls.

The schoolgirl, who was aged between 12 and 14 at the time of the alleged abuse, claimed he made her stay behind after class before touching her beneath the table and then telling her ‘well done’

His wife of 34 years, Louise, a midwife, and his three grown-up daughters stood by Mr Mulcahy and sobbed with relief as the jury read out their not guilty verdicts.

Mr Mulcahy made no further comment on the matter as he left Bournemouth Crown Court.

The CPS said that they were ‘satisfied the case was properly investigated’ and that there was ‘sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction’.

A CPS spokesman said: ‘Decisions to prosecute are based on our legal test which we apply when deciding whether to authorise charges.

‘It is not the function of the CPS to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal court to consider.

Although the Crown Prosecution Service said it respected the jury’s decision a spokesman said: ‘We were satisfied that the case was properly investigated’

‘That assessment is based on whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction when put to a jury.

‘In this case, we were satisfied that the case was properly investigated and that there was sufficient evidence provided for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction.

‘We respect the jury’s decision in this case.’

Dorset Police said they did a ‘thorough and detailed investigation’ but they would await contact from Judge Forster and ‘take any action deemed necessary’.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: ‘Dorset Police takes allegations of this nature very seriously and we undertook a thorough and detailed investigation. This was reviewed by CPS, which determined it was appropriate to prosecute.

‘We want to ensure that we provide an exceptional service to all and therefore we will always reflect on cases to identify any areas for learning and will undertake a review of this investigation if appropriate.

‘We will await contact from Judge Forster QC and will take any action that is deemed necessary in due course.’

MailOnline has contacted Bournemouth Collegiate School for comment.



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