Liverpool

Lydiate teaching assistant groomed boy, 15, for sex

Lydia Beattie-Milligan Image copyright Lynda Rougley
Image caption Lydia Beattie-Milligan was compared to Mrs Robinson in the film The Graduate by a colleague

An "infatuated" teaching assistant has been jailed for arranging to meet a vulnerable 15-year-old pupil for sex in a hotel bedroom.

Married Lydia Beattie-Milligan, 43, of Lydiate, Merseyside, denied arranging to meet a child after sexual grooming but was found guilty by a jury.

During the trial, Liverpool Crown Court heard she booked a hotel room for the pair then sent messages joking about him not going home that night.

She was jailed for two years.

Judge Gary Woodhall said on sentencing her he was "perfectly satisfied" she was intending to engage in sexual activity with the victim.

The judge said within weeks of meeting him Beattie-Milligan, who had worked in education for 25 years, had breached school policy by getting his mobile phone number.

She then booked a hotel room to meet in and sent messages with kiss emojis and signing off with "babes" as well as joking about drinking alcohol together and him not going home that night, the jury heard.

"You were infatuated with him, you changed the way you dressed when going to work," the judge said.

'Off the rails'

Cheryl Mottram, prosecuting, said concerns arose when a colleague noticed she was "acting too familiar with him in the corridor".

After she gave the victim bonus points in a lesson a colleague joked with the boy he must have been Beattie-Milligan's favourite.

The boy then showed him his phone with the messages about the hotel booking.

Beattie-Milligan, whose marriage has since collapsed, had claimed she realised she had crossed a boundary in their teacher-pupil relationship and booked a hotel room to explain that to him.

But the judge told her: "You were employed to protect and help him and for your own benefit, fulfilment and reward breached that significant breach of trust placed in you."

The boy's mother told the court the grooming had a devastating effect on him and he had since "gone off the rails".

As well as a two-year jail term, Beattie-Milligan was given a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

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