A FORMER Ayrshire teacher who was told he was “lucky not to be facing a murder charge” after assaulting two children has been given ‘light duties’ as a punishment instead of jail.

Thomas Taylor stamped on a 15-year-old boy’s head in Troon – months after he’d attacked a boy at a primary school in Ayr.

The 43-year-old was suspended and eventually dismissed following the attacks in December 2022 and May 2023.

The Advertiser previously reported Taylor, of Portland Terrace, Troon, admitted carrying out the savage assault on a 15-year-old boy on the town’s Bank Street on May 16, 2023. 

Taylor, who had been teaching since 2010, had denied assaulting the 10-year-old at a school in Ayr, but was later found guilty after a trial at Ayr Sheriff Court 

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

The Troon incident happened at around 9.45pm on May 16 last year when the teenager and a friend were walking in the vicinity of Portland Terrace, near Bank Street, at around 9.45pm. 

The procurator fiscal depute had told an earlier hearing: “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 previously told Sheriff Susan Turner both that school incident and the Troon attack had involved 'degrees of provocation'.

Ms Green said: “The first allegation 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.”

When Taylor returned to court last week to find out his fate, Ms Green confirmed he was suitable for carrying out light duties as part of a community payback order.

Sheriff Turner said: "I said to you on the last occasion, particularly relating to charge two, it is an incredibly serious incident.

“It's more good fortune than anything else not to have found yourself on an indictment. 

"When putting your foot to someone’s head on the ground it is just pure luck if the person is not seriously injured.

“This easily meets the threshold for custody.”

However, Sheriff Turner opted to step back from jailing Taylor, citing his lack of previous convictions, his work record, the impact and consequences of the conviction, and the fact he’d already lost his job as a resuld.

She added: "This is nevertheless an extremely serious matter."

Taylor was placed on an 18 month community payback order,and hit with a night-time curfew that will last until early December.

As part of the order he will be required to attend counselling and focused work as directed by his supervisor.

He will also have to do 200 hours of unpaid work in the community within the next 12 months.

The sheriff added: "You will be made subject to a restriction of liberty order for eight months with electronic monitoring from 7pm-7am.  

"If you breach the order a report send following day and a warrant for your arrest."