A teacher from Darlington has been jailed after she admitted to sexually touching a schoolgirl in the back of her car as part of a 15-month ‘affair’.
Aimee Jones initially approached her victim at school and told the teenager that she was bisexual and that she ‘had a sense of attraction towards her’, the Teesside Crown Court heard.
The couple then began sending text messages – messages that were described as not overtly sexual, but which were ‘chatty, polite and pleasant’ – however, made it clear that Jones was interested in her victim.
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Jones appeared in Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court last month and pleaded guilty to four counts of abuse of trust by engaging in sexual activity with a girl between the ages of 13 and 17 who was cared for on school premises – which concerned at least eight apartments.
Teesside Crown Court heard how the couple met months after the first contact in the park in Sedgefield and wanted to hold hands.
Prosecutor Jon Harley said: “The couple went on in the more remote parts of the park or sat in the back of Mrs Jones’ car. They kissed, they hugged and on one occasion they both took off their outerwear and were naked from the waist up. “
“This was always accompanied by what is described as intense pre- and post-texting, in which Mrs Jones acknowledged that what she was doing was wrong and took risks.
“The pattern continued … and during this time Mrs. Jones continued to teach her victim, and the abuse – the affair as it was – came to light when Mrs. Jones’ husband began to suspect that his wife was having an extramarital affair.”
The court heard that Jones, who has a young son, first admitted to having an affair, but claimed it was with a female teaching assistant at Darlington School.
The 35-year-old then tried to persuade the school to pretend they were a fictitious teaching assistant at the school to deter her husband – although it was accepted that this was not to hinder the police investigation.
Teesside Crown Court heard that Jones and her husband originally stayed together, but when the full extent of the affair came to light, he reported it.
Jones from West Road, Melsonby, Richmond, North Yorkshire also contacted her victim and told her she had to tell police everything before she was met by officers and arrested on arrival at the school.
A statement on the impact of the victim from the schoolgirl’s family, written earlier this year, said: “I only care [the victim] primarily because of the heartache she suffers – I have compared the revelation of this relationship and it is an abrupt end to a grief.
“She has no doubt that they were in love and would have preferred it to continue. But after several discussions, she is aware that this is something that should not have happened in the first place.”
Adds: “I have come to worry that in the future she will come to realize that her relationship with Mrs Jones was a betrayal of trust rather than the loving, supportive relationship that she perceives it as and reaches the scale. of the abuse becomes clear to her, I am sure she will not only need our support again, but also professional help in the form of counseling. “
Judge Chris Smith heard Jones express ‘genuine remorse’ and he said it was clear in both a ‘eloquent’ letter Jones had written to the court as well as in both a prior sentencing report and a psychological report.
The court was described as a ‘meek, gentle and timid lady’ who is ‘intelligent, highly educated and hardworking’, and heard that mother-in-law would never teach again, but no sexual prevention order would be made injuries.
Robert Mochrie said mitigatingly: “The evidence in court is not that Mrs Jones put the victim down and immediately launched a campaign to try to meet her own sexual needs in the form of immediate contact.
“It’s really repeated by the text messages. My contention is that the defendant obviously erroneously appeared to have developed sincere but albeit inappropriate feelings for the victim and was actually preoccupied with seeking her company.”
He said photographs would be extended to share plates with food they ate – “far from the often bad pictures” often requested by offenders.
But Judge Smith said this was’ really indicative of how this defendant and her victim thought this was a genuine, loving relationship.
“The problem I have with it is that it brings the inappropriate relationship to an end, which is part of the damage caused in these cases.”
Asking the court to suspend the Jones verdict, Mochrie added: “She takes this very seriously and has punished herself over and over and over again.”
Judge Smith, who sentenced Jones to eight months in prison for the four charges, said: “Any parent who sends their child to school expects them to be kept safe by those in whose care they leave their child.”
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