Head teacher attacked – ‘This is for the hell you gave me at school 14 years ago’
By Jaya Narain
Last updated at 12:29 AM on 20th February 2009
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Head teacher Kieran Heakin is recovering from the injuries he received – apparently from a former pupil
After the attack: Head teacher Kieran Heakin is recovering from the injuries he received – apparently from a former pupil
A former pupil allegedly smashed two glasses into the face of a headmaster in what was apparently ‘revenge’ for his miserable schooldays.
The man is thought to have borne a grudge for more than a decade after falling out with teachers at his primary school.
The victim, Kieran Heakin, suffered serious facial injuries and was taken to hospital, where he is recovering.
Despite suffering several broken bones, the 57-year-old – a committed Christian – has vowed to forgive his attacker.
The incident happened on Tuesday as Mr Heakin enjoyed a meal in an Indian restaurant with two friends.
As Mr Heakin was tucking into a curry at Kapana in Rochdale, the man approached the table. He asked: ‘Are you Mr Heakin?’ Mr Heakin replied: ‘Yes’.
Then the former pupil allegedly said: ‘You made my life a hell in school’ before attacking him.
After the incident, Mr Heakin, the headmaster of St John’s RC Primary in Burn-ley, Lancashire, was taken to hospital suffering from a broken nose, a broken cheekbone, a fractured eye socket and a broken jaw.
Doctors are also treating him for broken ribs and say he will need extensive medical care and facial reconstructive surgery.
Mr Heakin, who has been a teacher for 34 years, said: ‘I’d walked into the restaurant with some friends when the lad opposite introduced himself to me and asked if remembered him.
Mr Heakin before he was attacked in the curry house
Innocent victim: Mr Heakin before he was attacked in the curry house
‘He told me I’d taught him at primary school. It’s not unusual for me to bump into former pupils. They usually come up and say “Can I buy you a drink?” or something like that.’
Mr Heakin, a grandfather of three, added: ‘I’m not going to let this one episode spoil everything. I’m a committed Christian and I’ve chosen to forgive this young man.
‘I need to be able to stand up in front of my kids and say I practise what I preach.
‘I can’t think why he would harbour a grudge for all these years.
‘I remember him as a curly-haired little boy from his school days. He came to us with a bit of attitude and we did everything we could for him.
There wasn’t a problem with him when he left. He seemed a decent youngster.
‘Some time down the line I’d like to sit down with him and see what’s gone wrong. I’d ask him why it’s come to this.
‘He might not be my pupil any more but I will help him in any way I can.’
Mr Heakin’s son Damien, 30, said: ‘Whoever has done this is not even fit to lace my father’s shoelaces. He is a rock of a man and his attacker is simply a coward.’
He added: ‘He is talking but is on quite strong painkillers. He is stable and we are all sure he will pull through this. To attack anyone like that is just cowardly. It was completely unprovoked.’
The police are investigating Mr Heakin’s claim that his attacker was a former pupil.
A married father of three, Mr Heakin was twice mayor of Whitworth, near Rochdale, and he also works as a prison service counsellor.
A man in his 20s from Rochdale has been charged with assault and criminal damage in connection with the incident.
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