A series of vicious attacks on a teenager were dismissed by his school as "a bit of teasing", a court heard yesterday.

After talking to the bullies, headteacher Peter Clark concluded it was the victim, Jamie Bright, who was to blame, Middlesbrough Crown Court was told.

The court has heard how, during two years at Shotton hall Comprehensive School, Mr Bright suffered injuries including a shattered wrist and damaged knee. He was robbed and repeatedly punched and kicked by a gang of bullies.

His mother, Gloria, wrote to local MP John Cummins, who contacted Mr Clark, asking what was going on.

Yesterday, the court heard that Mr Clarke wrote: "Jamie has been the victim of teasing in school. Much of this he brings upon himself with gross exaggeration and weird stories."

Asked where he got the information that Mr Bright had caused the problem, Mr Clark said it was through discussions with the bullies.

Mr Bright, 20, of Shotton Colliery, and another ex-pupil, Caroline Newby, 20, of Peterlee, are each claiming £50,000 damages in the case brought against the school governors and the County Durham Education Authority.

Both claim they suffered lasting psychological injuries and Mr Bright claims he suffered lasting physical injuries because of bullying that the school did nothing to stop.

The school denies liability.