England

Wiltshire teacher Mark Westcott jailed for pupil sex

Mark Westcott
Image caption Mark Westcott began the relationship with the girl when she was 16

A teacher who had sex with one of his students has been jailed for 16 months.

Mark Westcott, 48, began the relationship with the girl when she was 16, Swindon Crown Court heard.

Westcott, of North Wraxall, Wiltshire, admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust.

The relationship started when the girl, who was taking her GCSEs at a school in the Bath area, went to the married teacher for pastoral support.

The court heard the relationship happened between February and October this year.

The two first kissed on a school ski trip and first slept together at a Travelodge hotel near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, the court heard.

'Engagement ring'

Prosecutor Siobhan Linsley said: "In September he gave her a ring which they regarded as an engagement ring and he regarded himself as Mr Westcott and his fiancee."

The relationship began to cool by the autumn as the girl began seeing someone else, the court heard.

However, they continued to see each other and had a sexual encounter days before police arrested Westcott in October.

The relationship was first reported to police after the NSPCC received an anonymous call and a pupil later told another teacher that the girl was seeing someone.

Charles Row, defending, said Westcott was sorry for what he had done.

"He has let so many people down, himself, his family and the teaching profession," he said.

"He is ashamed for his failure of resolve, self control, and bluntly, his will."

Mr Row said Westcott had tried to end the relationship in the summer but failed.

"He admits he was the adult and for some unknown reason he couldn't stop himself," he said.

'Good references'

Jailing Westcott, Judge Douglas Fields said: "This is a very, very serious case.

"You were a man - until the early months of this year - of impeccable character.

"I have never read such good references of someone who stands before me in the dock.

"You behaved in an entirely inappropriate way."

Det Insp Mike Williams, from Avon and Somerset Police, said: "My thoughts are with the victim of this investigation.

"She would perhaps not see herself as a victim, but Mr Westcott formed a sexual relationship with her when she was a school pupil and he worked in a position of trust as a teacher employed by the school."

Westcott, who has separated from his wife, was also placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

He was suspended by the school when he was arrested and has since been sacked.

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