A TEACHER accused of kissing and touching children inappropriately told a jury he accepted a hug and a peck on the cheek from a girl.

Brahmo Chellakootty, 63, is alleged to have sexually assaulted two girls under the age of 16 while he was working at a school in the Colchester area.

One girl alleges he hugged and kissed her.

A second girl alleges Chellakootty deliberately touched her chest and leg.

She further alleges he made inappropriate comments, including telling her “I’ll pleasure you”.

The court heard Chellakootty’s contact “made her feel really uncomfortable”.

Taking to the witness box during a trial at Ipswich Crown Court, Challakootty told the jury he was “proud” of his 35 years experience as a teacher, having started his career in South Africa in the 1980s.

He told the jury of three occasions one complainant hugged him.

On the first occasion he said he was asked for a hug out of “appreciation” and he was “pleasantly surprised”.

He said: “I think anybody here in this court, when someone hugs you, you spontaneously put your arms around them.”

“It was quite brief, it could have been face to face or side to side.”

When asked to describe the hug, he was it was “like a child hugging a father, in a respectful, appreciative manner”.

He added: “That’s what came across and what I agreed to in that moment.”

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After alleging the girl hugged him a second time, Chellakootty said he told her to stop hugging him as “people can misconstrue it”.

On the third occasion, he said: “When I told her you can’t be doing this, stop it, she continued walking towards me.

“She hugged me and actually gave me a kiss as well.

“She said I kissed her, I didn’t do that, she kissed me on the cheek.”

Chellakootty denied he requested a kiss from the girl.

He added: “I regarded it like the previous hugs, rather innocent like a child hugging their dad or a teacher, there was no sexual connotation.”

In relation to the second complainant, Chellakootty told the jury he may have “accidentally and briefly” touched her leg before apologising to her.

He said any contact between his elbow and her chest was “purely accidental”.

He added: “I didn’t say ‘I’ll pleasure you’ to anybody.”

Chellakootty was asked if he told the girl he was “single and mature”.

He responded: “I could have said it in a light-hearted way, I don’t think I would have said something like that. I’m married with three children.”

Chellakootty, of Burdett Avenue, Westcliff, denies three counts of sexual assault and causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.