Private school is rocked by brawl between teacher and her lover

A TEACHER put her lover in hospital after a festive ceilidh at one of the country's top private schools descended into a vicious late-night brawl.

Teacher and netball coach Claire Laurie used a stiletto-heeled shoe to lash out at boyfriend Craig Slater as the staff party turned ugly at Strathallan School.

Slater ended up being hospitalised with his injuries as Miss Laurie struck out to stop him fighting with her and destroying her staff accommodation.

At Perth Sheriff Court yesterday, the pair were both named in a charge of conducting a stand-up fight within the staff quarters at the prestigious Perthshire school.

Restaurant manager Slater, 26, of Springhill Gardens, Glasgow, admitted breaching the peace at the school – where Colin Montgomerie was a former pupil – on 12 December last year.

He admitted conducting himself in a disorderly manner by shouting and swearing and fighting with Miss Laurie in her room at Strathallan.

Slater also admitted throwing bottles and glasses around and then kicking the living-room door so hard that he broke it. Sentence was deferred for reports.

As part of his bail conditions, Slater – who spent a weekend in custody after his arrest – was banned from visiting the school in Forgandenny until after the conclusion of the court case.

The court was told that, as a result of the fracas, both Ms Laurie and Slater were injured and he was taken to Perth Royal Infirmary for treatment.

Slater was initially charged with throwing an egg at Ms Laurie, before throwing her against a wall, spitting on her and forcing her on to the floor, where he held her down and repeatedly spat on her.

That charge, which further alleged that he threw her down a flight of stairs, before picking her up by the throat and throttling her, was dropped as part of a plea bargain by the Crown yesterday.

Solicitor Steve Lafferty, defending, said: "He was in a relationship with her from two years ago.

"He was the one who ended up in hospital as a result of an assault perpetrated upon him."

Ms Laurie, who is a computing teacher as well as a netball coach at the school, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The couple had been at a staff ceilidh to celebrate Christmas and had gone back to the staff quarters with a number of other people to continue drinking after the ceilidh ended.

A row and fight then broke out, which ended up with other members of staff being forced to contact Tayside Police and an ambulance crew to attend the school.

Strathallan currently has about 450 day and boarding pupils and boasts of having a near 100 per cent pass rate at A level, as well as sending 95 per cent of its pupils to university.

Former pupils include Richard Henderson, past-president of the Law Society of Scotland, the MP Michael Moore and TV presenter Dominik Diamond.

In 2005, Strathallan was one of 50 private schools in the UK found guilty of running a price-fixing cartel aimed at driving up fees.

A spokesman for Strathallan School said: "It was a private matter between two people after the end of term time. I don't know if it was a staff party or not."

She said as it was a "personal" matter the school had not been in a position to hold an inquiry into staff behaviour, and she declined to comment further.