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Teacher jailed over pupil sex
A RE teacher carried on a sexual relationship with a pupil despite his suspension by education bosses while an inquiry took place, a court has heard.
Colleagues of Richard Jones, 57, passed on their concerns to the authorities about his "improper" behaviour but he ignored the "shot across the bows" as the abuse of the vulnerable teenager continued.
His crimes were uncovered weeks later last summer when the girl's family discovered sexually graphic email exchanges between the pair and reported the matter to police.
Jones, of Gorton Road, Stockport, was arrested and later charged with a number of sexual offences.
The investigation led to another child victim coming forward who said Jones had sexually abused her in the 1970s.
Jones was today jailed for a total of eight years after he admitted a string of sexual offences against both victims.
Manchester Crown Court heard that a teenage pupil at his South Manchester high school, which cannot be named for legal reasons, came to him for emotional support over personal problems.
But Jones exploited her being flattered by his attention as he set up regular one-to-one meetings in his classroom which eventually led to her being kissed and groped.
The relationship developed as the pair began to meet in secret in a secluded area of a local park where more sexual activity took place.
On one such occasion her family gained access to her computer when they could not track her down and found the explicit conversations.
It emerged that about three weeks earlier Jones had been suspended by the school after fellow teachers had flagged up their concern about the relationship.
One had reported that Jones had been seen sitting "inappropriately close" to her in his classroom before the school day had started.
When arrested, Jones made no comment.
The girl told police that they had both fallen in love with each other and that Jones had suggested they go to his home city of Liverpool to have sex but she had refused.
Jones pleaded guilty on the day of his scheduled trial to four counts of sexual activity with a child and and one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He also admitted seven counts of indecent assault in the historical case in the Liverpool area which involved a girl aged under 13.
Sentencing him, Judge Robert Atherton noted the defendant had carried on seeing the pupil even when he received the "shot across the bows" of the suspension.
He said: "Unfortunately you did not then desist from seeing her and continued to see her and made arrangements so that her family believed she was in one place when she in fact was in a totally different place with you. That in my judgment was a severe breach of trust.
"She was clearly a vulnerable girl. She came to you for support and no doubt felt you were in a position to give her that support. But you betrayed her.
"While it is clear that she did not protest against your sexual activities with her it is also clear that you must have been grooming her in those days and weeks over which this all occurred."
The judge said Jones was "extremely fortunate" that his wife, who was in court, and their children were standing by him and continued to support him.
Jones was sentenced to six years for the Manchester offences and two years for the Liverpool offences.
He will be on the Sex Offenders Register for life and is also banned from working with children.