Bitter religious divisions on a primary school's governing body plunged the headteacher into acute depression and destroyed her career, a leading judge was told yesterday.

Erica Connor of Skenfrith, Abergavenny, says her nerves were left shattered by "harassment" and a string of "vituperative" complaints against her while she was head of the New Monument School in Woking, Surrey, which has a high proportion of pupils from an Islamic background.

Now, in the first case of its kind, the 57-year-old – who says she was left as a "helpless scapegoat" – is seeking hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation from Surrey County Council, claiming her bosses did not do enough to support her.

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