England

Woman teacher held over sex with schoolgirl, 15

A teacher who admitted sexually abusing a 15-year-old female pupil has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Suzanne Harrison, 38, pleaded guilty to four sex offences which took place when she worked at a school in Colchester.

Ipswich Crown Court heard Harrison swapped numbers with her victim at the girl's 15th birthday party.

The judge ruled the former Ipswich sixth form college worker, of Wacker Field Road, Rendlesham, Suffolk, should be held in a psychiatric hospital.

Judge Peter Thompson said he had made the ruling after a "very thorough" assessment of her condition.

"This does not mean the court takes a less serious view of the offending - the victim has suffered very significantly, " he told the court.

'Emotional abuse'

Prosecutor Godfried Duah told the court: "Their friendship developed very quickly... and sometimes Miss Harrison would take the victim home from school.

"Miss Harrison was very often at the victim's home address and sometimes would have meals and barbecues with her family."

During a walk in a park, Harrison told the girl: "Don't tell anybody about this."

Mr Duah said: "This was a very vulnerable victim who relied on her teacher's support as a friend."

He added that even when the girl went to university, she was subjected to "emotional abuse" by Harrison.

Defending, Richard Atchley said Harrison had been referred to mental health teams and continued to suffer psychological difficulties.

Harrison also used to teach at Otley College, near Ipswich, and Suffolk One sixth form centre in the town.

A Suffolk One spokesman said: "We can state that the charges like the ones being faced are indefensible.

"We would like to reassure parents and guardians that our students' safety, security and welfare is our utmost priority."

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