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Trainee teacher ‘egged on’ by mother to tell King’s Lynn head teacher Greg Hill she had feelings for him, court told

A junior teacher was “egged on” by her mother to tell her head teacher “how she really felt about him”, a court heard.

Chloe Regester, the complainant in former Gaywood head teacher Greg Hill’s ongoing trial, actually reciprocated his romantic feelings, according to Hill’s barrister Mathew Dance.

However, she met the claims with a steadfast denial: “Absolutely not.”

Greg Hill is accused of harassing a trainee teacher at Howard Junior School
Greg Hill is accused of harassing a trainee teacher at Howard Junior School

Hill is currently on trial accused of harassment without violence against Ms Regester, as well as resisting arrest and breaching bail conditions. He denies all charges.

On Tuesday, Ms Regester said she had been left “petrified”, “vulnerable” and “fuming”, alleging that Hill listened into her conversations at school, declared his love for her and took photographs of her car while she was celebrating her brother’s birthday.

But yesterday in cross-examination, Mr Dance put to her that by sending Hill heart emojis, kisses (represented by the letter ‘x’) and consistent social media messages, she showed that she felt the same way about him.

He suggested that taken in isolation, some of Hill’s private messages to Ms Regester may seem “a little bit odd”.

He referenced one conversation in which Hill asked about school return dates, which had been discussed on the trial’s opening day.

“I am going to suggest to you that this message was not in isolation, was it?” Mr Dance asked the complainant.

He said the two had actually communicated on a number of occasions leading up to that specific message in December 2021.

Mr Dance added: “The point I am making, Ms Regester, is that this message you received in December was not out of the blue, was it?”

“Not only had you built up a professional relationship with Mr Hill, but you had built up a friendship.”

Ms Regester denied this, and said she felt “obligated” to respond to her head teacher.

On later messages in which she sent heart emojis to Hill, Mr Dance asked: “Don’t you think that by sending these heart emojis, that encourages him to contact you?

“You could have responded or reacted with a thumbs up rather than a heart, couldn’t you?”

Throughout yesterday’s proceedings, Ms Regester argued that she reacts to “a lot” of messages in a similar fashion.

The barrister asked the complainant about an occasion in December 2021 on which she visited Hill’s house while he was ill to provide him with “a couple of treats”, including chocolate and cakes.

She said this was done at the request of other people.

Mr Dance then asked Ms Regester about more of the alleged harassment which had been detailed on Tuesday.

When probed on whether Hill’s behaviour was out of the ordinary, she said: “I think I respected him at the start, and I think I looked up to where he was in his position.

“I wanted to please him - I wanted to show him that I was a good teacher.”

However, Mr Dance suggested that Ms Regester reciprocated Hill’s feelings - and that one phone call between them had seen the complainant’s mother becoming involved.

“In one of these calls, you told him you have feelings for him,” he said.

“Your mum was egging you on to tell Greg how you felt about him.”

Ms Regester responded: “That is absolutely incorrect. I entirely pacified him and said I was not reciprocating those feelings.”

Once again raising the fact that Ms Regester sent Hill kisses via social media messages, Mr Dance suggested that if she was “as scared” as she said she was, she did not need to respond in that way.

He referenced one conversation where Hill sent the complainant a photograph of her face with a message reading: “Can’t wait to see this smile.”

She responded: “Aw, you too, can’t wait xx”.

In court yesterday, she said: “People say things, don’t they, as a face. I wasn’t happy. It was what I felt I had to do.”

But Mr Dance said: “You certainly made Mr Hill believe that you were in some sort of relationship with him, did you not?

“You were craving Mr Hill’s attention, were you not?”

Ms Regester replied: “I once again told him this was not reciprocated, it was not the right time and he needed to find the right person for him.”

Mr Dance then argued that Ms Regester’s use of ‘laughing face’ emojis when telling her partner about her issues with Hill suggested she did not take them seriously.

He said it showed she found “the whole thing funny” - but she again said this was an attempt to “put on a face”.

The barrister also claimed that Ms Regester had lied about a number of meetings she had with Hill in school, as well as about him taking photographs of her car during a family birthday at her father’s house - which is close to Hill’s Fakenham home.

He said Ms Regester’s car was parked close to Hill’s driveway at the time.

“I am going to suggest that he wasn’t taking photos, and that for whatever reason you are lying about that,” he said.

Mr Dance further argued that the complainant was in fact happy to be taken on numerous trips to Sandringham following Queen Elizabeth II’s death in 2022.

She denied all of these claims.

Concluding his cross-examination, the barrister said: “There is no dispute, is there, that you were ambitious when you started at Howard Junior School in 2021.

“You became a lead in a number of fields, didn’t you - and you agreed to take that role on, didn’t you?

“You became friends with Mr Hill. Later on, you developed feelings for one another.

“You have fabricated events, as I suggest you have, to seek some sort of compensation from Mr Hill or the school.”

Speaking through tears, Ms Regester responded: “The only thing I want is for no one else to have to deal with this man ever again.”

Ms Regester’s mother and partner took to the stand as witnesses yesterday.

Her mother told the court she was concerned about her daughter’s work-life balance as soon as she started at the Gaywood school.

She also said that on one occasion when she visited the school to help Ms Regester prepare her classroom for Christmas, Hill had decorated an area of the building with a welcome message featuring her name.

“When she started at the school, she was really enthusiastic - she was throwing herself into it,” she said.

“Over time, she just became a very anxious person. She was doubting herself, she just didn’t know how to cope with the situation she had found herself in.”

When asked by Mr Dance about whether she had “egged” Ms Regester on to tell Hill about how she felt, her mother replied: “I would never do that, because I have very large aspirations for my daughter.”

The court heard on Tuesday that Ms Regester is a lesbian, and her partner also took to the stand yesterday.

She suggested the reason Ms Regester used ‘laughing face’ emojis when discussing the ordeal with her was because of how early it was in their relationship.

“She wanted to break it to me softly,” she said.

Yesterday, dramatic footage which captured the arrest of Hill showed him shouting: “This is like George Floyd in America.”

He became emotional and had to leave the courtroom while the video was played.

Proceedings start again in Norwich tomorrow, and are expected to continue next week.

The trial continues.

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