Scots teacher dies days before she was due to face trial over alleged assault of pupil

A Scots secondary school is in shock after the death of a respected teacher just days before she was due to face trial for allegedly assaulting a female pupil.

Languages teacher and church minister’s wife Katherine Scouler had been suspended since October after the classroom incident while trying to take a mobile phone off a girl.

Her trial was due to call at Jedburgh Sheriff Court this Thursday when she was due to face a charge of pulling the girl’s hair and striking her to the head with her hand.

But during the early hours of Saturday, February 4, she suffered serious injuries in an incident in the garden of her home in High Street, Hawick, Roxburghshire when it is believed she was attempting to take her own life.

Mother-of-two Mrs Scouler, 53, was taken by ambulance to Borders General Hospital and then transferred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary where she died from her injuries last Tuesday.

Colleagues at Hawick High School are said to be angry at the lack of support given to Mrs Scouler by her employers Scottish Borders Council during the disciplinary proceedings and believe she had accidentally struck the girl while trying to get the mobile phone.

Counselling has been provided for staff and pupils after news of the tragedy swept the school last week.

Her heartbroken family released a statement through a legal firm at the weekend saying: “Her sudden death has left us completely devastated. No words can express the sense of loss we feel about her passing.”

It asked that the media and the wider public now allow the family to grieve and respect their privacy.

The Crown Office confirmed there would be no further active proceedings against Mrs Scouler.

A spokesperson said: “We have received a death report in relation to this individual. This brings any active proceedings against them to an end.”

Locals described Mrs Scouler as a ‘pillar of the community’ in Hawick and “one of the nicest people you would ever meet.”

She and her husband Michael – a former Church of Scotland minister and currently chaplain with NHS Borders – have two daughters, Jenny, 30, and Heather, 28, who live abroad.

Mrs Scouler, originally from Fenland in Cambridgeshire, met her husband when he was stationed nearby as a soldier with the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

She started working at Hawick High School in 2015, and joined the town’s Saxhorn Band after learning the trombone.

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Katherine Scouler. Our thoughts are with her family.”

“Katherine was a valued member of the Hawick High School community.

“Arrangements are in place to support colleagues or pupils affected by this news.”

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We received a call at 3.50am on February 4 to attend an incident at an address on the High Street, Hawick.

“We dispatched two ambulances and a female patient was transported to the Borders General hospital.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “At around 3.55am on Saturday, February 4, police attended a concern for a person call at an address on High Street in Hawick.

“A 53-year-old woman was taken to hospital following the incident. She subsequently died in hospital on Tuesday, February 7.

“There are no suspicious circumstances and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”

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