Headmaster beaten by ex-pupil

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A headmaster has been left deaf and scarred for life by a former pupil who harboured a 20-year grudge for being caned as a child.

Kieran Heakin, 58, the headmaster of St John's RC Primary, in Burnley, suffered a broken nose, a broken cheekbone and ribs, a fractured eye socket and a broken jaw when he was attacked in an Indian restaurant.

Mr Heakin, the former mayor of Whitworth, near Rochdale, who has taught for 34 years, spent two weeks in hospital and two months recuperating at home. He had to have four metal plates put into his skull and is now permanently deaf in one ear and has no sense of smell and taste.

Former pupil Jermaine Bullen, 26, was jailed for three years after he pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to commit grievous bodily harm. Bullen, who was arrested the following day after fleeing the scene said all he could do was picture himself being caned at the age of six and he lost control.

The attack came during a chance encounter after he spotted Mr Heakin waiting for a takeaway curry in Greater Manchester, with two fellow heads.

In a statement, Mr Heakin said: 'In spite of my injuries I have forgiven Jermaine and I don't want any revenge. He lost his self control for a moment and will pay for that for many years to come.

"I remember him as an infant but I have not seen him for 19 years. He was expelled from schools many times. As a committed Christian I have decided to forgive him. That is my job  -  I spend a lot of time telling children about forgiveness."