North West Wales

Glan Conwy teacher Iwan Harding banned after lewd texts to boy

A teacher who sent lewd text messages to a 16-year-old schoolboy who later killed himself has been banned indefinitely from the classroom.

Iwan Harding, 35, of Llanberis, was teaching at a primary school in Glan Conwy, Conwy county, when he exchanged messages with the boy.

He claimed he thought the pupil was 18.

A General Teaching Council for Wales committee found him guilty of unprofessional conduct which fell short of the standard expected of a teacher.

The professional conduct hearing was told that after the boy went missing from home, messages were retrieved from his mobile phone and some were from Mr Harding and of a sexual nature.

The boy was found dead in January last year after killing himself.

According to the presenting officer, Emma Burns, of 77 texts sent between 7 October and 24 November in 2012, about 25 were of a sexual nature, eight of them sent in school hours.

'Breach of trust'

Mr Harding, who did not appear at the hearing and was not represented, had said he never knew the name of the boy - a prefect in a Lancashire school - and thought he was 18.

The committee found allegations about communications of a sexually explicit nature proved.

They also took into account a 2003 conviction for drink driving.

The hearing was told Mr Harding had removed himself from teaching.

Committee chairman Peter Williams said the communications he sent had been of a graphic sexual nature and were a breach of trust.

Court case dropped

He said there was a limited expression of remorse and that Mr Harding had appeared to be in denial.

An indefinite ban from teaching in Wales was necessary to maintain public trust and confidence and protect the interest of pupils, the public and the profession, the hearing was told.

A year ago Mr Harding had denied in court that he sent grossly offensive or indecent, obscene messages.

A district judge was about to adjudicate in the case against Mr Harding but it was dropped at the last minute after the principal legal advisor to the director of public prosecutions advised that it should not proceed.