MORE evidence has been heard in the trial of a former music teacher accused of multiple counts of indecent assault.

The jury in the trial of Michael Crombie heard how the Woodford Green resident made pupils feel uncomfortable by touching them on the thigh as they played the piano at his house.

On the sixth day of evidence at Snaresbrook Crown Court, jurors heard from five witnesses; three former pupils of Crombie, the mother of another alleged victim and a teacher at Woodford County High School for Girls.

Richard Neal, director of music at Woodford County High School since 1991, told the court today about the time a pupil asked to speak with him privately about her music lessons outside school.

Mr Neal told the court that the alleged victim was told by Crombie to take her bikini along to lessons so she could practice breathing exercises in his bath.

Mr Neal said: "I was absolutely flabbergasted, it was a statement I would never forget for the rest of my life.

"I remember it, like seeing 9/11."

He said he was particularly surprised as the pupil was taking piano lessons which did not marry up with breathing exercises.

About five or six years after that incident, in February or March 2006, Mr Neal was again involved in an incident relating to Crombie.

He said another of the alleged victims went "ballistic and started running around the room and crying" when she found out Crombie was to be an external examiner for a practical music exam.

The court heard how Crombie, of Monkhams Avenue, led the Cantori Vocal Ensemble at the 50th birthday party of the father of one of his former pupils.

The mother of the former pupil, who Crombie is alleged to have indecently assaulted between November 1991 and November 1996, said how her daughter sang three solos at the birthday party and after the final performance Crombie stood up and kissed the teenager on the lips, "much to everyone's surprise".

The mother said: "I didn't confront him about it as I was in shock.

"My mother and mother-in-law were very cross."

The mother said the 73-year-old, a former music teacher at Wanstead High School, told her a story about how he once visited the family of another pupil and they bathed their child in front of him.

The mum, who lived in Wanstead with her family at the time of the alleged offences, said: "When he was telling the story I was thinking 'why is he telling me this and does he expect me to agree that it was an okay thing to do?'"

Another of the alleged victims, a former pupil at Snaresbrook College Prep School and then Bancroft's School, told the court that she started seeing Crombie for music lessons when she was about 10 years old.

She said Crombie started sitting her on his lap within weeks of the lessons starting and it happened every so often for about five years.

The witness said: "It was pretty early, I was probably still in primary school because at that time I was pretty lazy with the piano and he would sometimes put me on his lap and say I had not been practising enough."

Another alleged victim, who it is claimed was indecently assaulted between August 2001 and August 2003, said how Crombie touched her knee during lessons and she ducked a kiss aimed at her forehead on one occasion after he had kissed the top of her head once before.

The former Ilford Ursuline and Woodford County High School pupil said she recalled a time Crombie told her a story about his own daughter running around in the garden on a hot summer day.

The alleged victim said: "He said he came home and his daughter was there with her friends and they were running round and round and when he and his wife peered round the corner, his daughter and her friends took off more and more of their clothes and ended up completely naked."

Crombie also invited the alleged victim, when she was maybe aged 10, to a lingerie party which had been organised for the Cantori choir, the court was told by prosecutor Sandy Canavan.

The defence questioning centred around the alleged victims' possibly exaggerating where and how they had been touched and perhaps repeating things they may have heard others mention.

Dermot Keating, appearing on behalf of Crombie, said Mr Neal made his statement to police in July this year from his "best recollection, not with the assistance of notes but from your memory".

He told the witness who described sitting on Crombie's lap: "I accept that when you were younger you may have sat on his lap but I suggest your memory that you did it up to the age of 15 is wrong."

He told the mother who gave evidence that Crombie would often tell stories and go off on tangents.

He said: "He spoke about his past and about Friday night bath time when he was younger, that was the context in which that conversation took place."

Mr Keating said the kiss on the lips at the 50th birthday party came at a high point of the performance and "there was something of a crescendo" which prompted the "quick kiss".

He told the court that the mother continued with her daughter's lessons for another 13 months after the kiss.

Crombie has denied 28 charges of indecently assaulting nine girls aged under 16, seven charges of making indecent images of a child and one charge of possessing indecent images of a child.

The trial continues.