A FORMER Ayrshire teacher has been told he’s lucky not to be facing a murder charge after assaulting a 10-year-old boy at a primary school and stamping on a teenager’s head.

Thomas Taylor was suspended and eventually dismissed following the attacks at a primary school in Ayr and in Bank Street in Troon.

The 43-year-old had previously admitted carrying out the savage assault on a 15-year-old boy on Bank Street on May 16, 2023.

Taylor, of Portland Terrace, Troon, who had been teaching since 2010, had denied assaulting the 10-year-old at a school in Ayr – which we are not identifying to protect the child’s identity – but was found guilty after a trial at Ayr Sheriff Court.

He was convicted of pushing the younger boy on the body, seizing hold of his clothing and arms, pulling him and marching him back on to the school premises on December 1, 2022.

He was eventually dismissed from teaching last year.

Describing the Troon incident, the procurator fiscal depute told the court the victim and a friend had been walking in the vicinity of Portland Terrace, near Bank Street, at around 9.45pm.

He said: “While walking near the locus, one picked up a discarded tile. They both observed the accused looking at them. The witness dropped the tile, causing it to smash.

“In Bank Street they observed the accused directly behind them, asking who smashed the tile.

“The accused then dragged the complainer by the neck and threw them to the ground. He stamped on the complainer’s head and thereafter kicked him three times to the back of the head.”

Taylor left the scene and the victim of the attack went home and told his parents what had happened.

Taylor was traced two days later and was arrested and taken to Kilmarnock police station, where he was later cautioned and charged.

Defence counsel Janice Green said: “To add further context, this was his property, and tiles had been taken from his front garden area. He said the child looked to be in the porch.

“Thereafter, there is absolutely no doubt the response was inappropriate.”

Ms Green said Taylor had been found guilty of assaulting the younger child under deletion of certain aspects of the charge, and told Sheriff Susan Turner both that incident and the Troon attack had involved degrees of provocation.

She said that neither of the attacks had resulted in any injury, but added that both incidents were “undeniably serious”.

Ms Green continued: “The first allegation [against the 10-year-old boy] had a significant effect on Mr Taylor’s mental health and judgement. He suffered anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia.

“This has worsened following his interim dismissal in 2022; there was a period awaiting the outcome of disciplinary proceedings, and he was finally dismissed in 2023.

“He had been a teacher since 2010. Although this is a serious matter, the criminal justice social work report says he is at low risk of reoffending, and the offences could be dealt with by way of a community payback order with social work supervision.”

Sheriff Turner said: “Charge two, in particular, meets the custody threshold. When stamping on the head of someone who has been knocked to the ground, it has to be the case that a lack of injury is more the result of good fortune than anything else.

“I’m reminded of what I was told on my first day – that the difference between a district court trial and a High Court trial is usually 30 seconds and a lot of luck.

“This could have been a High Court murder case; it is by virtue of luck that he is in this forum.”

Sheriff Turner deferred sentence further for the court to obtain further information on Taylor’s ability to carry out any unpaid work.

Taylor had his bail continued and he will return to court for sentencing at a later date.