A teaching assistant broke down in tears today as she confessed to sending a schoolboy more than 40 years her junior sexual photographs of herself.
But she vehemently denied having a physical relationship with the teenager, telling the court: "I've never had sex with him."
Elaine McKay, 58, is accused of starting a sexual relationship with the 15-year-old while working at the 1,700-pupil Clacton Coastal Academy in Essex.
The married teaching assistant allegedly had sex with the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, after visiting his home to drop off a friendship cake with his family.
Taking to the witness stand at Chelmsford Crown Court in Essex, McKay began to cry as she admitted sending explicit pictures to the schoolboy for around a year - including a suggestive photograph of her biting a cucumber.
And she confessed to performing "graphic sexual acts" on herself as he watched on Skype.
Maria Dineen, defending, said: "You accept that there were messages and pictures sent by you and activity on Skype that was of a sexual nature."
McKay, a mother-of-two and grandmother-of-two, replied through tears: "Yes. Sorry, yes."
Taking a sip of water to compose herself, the teaching assistant - who has been suspended from her job - insisted it was the schoolboy who started it by asking for a picture of her.
She pointed him in the direction of her Facebook picture, but then he sent her a naked photograph of himself, she claimed.
She told jurors: "Then he asked 'can I send you a picture of me?' I said 'I don't want a picture of you'. He said he was just going to send one anyway. He sent me a picture and when I looked at the icon I could see it was a picture of his (privates).
"I didn't open the picture. I just deleted it.
"I was just totally shocked and I just text back saying 'What are you doing?'."
But the 58-year-old admitted she failed to report it to her school head of department, as she should have.
And instead over the next year or so she sent a string of provocative photographs to the teenager, including naked snaps and one of her in a compromising pose with a cucumber.
She told jurors: "He kept pestering and asking me 'Please, just one picture, just one picture, even if it's just a pair of knickers'."
McKay agreed there came a time when she "effectively gave him what he was asking for".
She said the first explicit picture she sent him was a "silly" picture of her shower that inadvertently had her underwear hanging in the background, and things escalated from there.
She admitted sending him a photograph of herself biting a cucumber - but insisted this was a jokey picture of her lunch.
Asked why she sent the pictures, McKay through tears said: "I have no idea whatsoever. This is my regret. I don't know, I don't know the reason."
The schoolboy claims the pair had sex after McKay visited his home to drop around a friendship cake to his family.
His relatives were not in, and the teenager said he went and had a shower. He claims that on his return McKay was waiting in his bedroom, ripped off his towel and had sex with him.
But McKay today vehemently denied having sex with the schoolboy, and insisted she had never been alone in a room with him.
Ms Dineen asked: "Did it ever become actually a physical relationship between the two of you?"
McKay, who had to be asked to speak up because her voice was soft as she began her evidence, replied: "No, never."
She added: "I would never have had sex with him. Nothing ever physical. I would never have had sex with him, ever."
McKay, of Banister Close, Clacton, Essex, denies intentionally touching a boy aged 15 by having full sex with him and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
She has admitted causing a child to look at sexually explicit images.
Under cross-examination, McKay said she was terrified the schoolboy would expose her if she ended their relationship.
She admitted she was probably subconsciously sexually attracted to the teen and said she began sending pictures to the schoolboy for "a joke" and "banter".
But she admitted being foolish in having an "inappropriate relationship" with the teen and told jurors: "I hold my hands up to it. It's my biggest regret."
Pressed over why she continued to send the explicit pictures, she said: "I hated every minute of it. I sort of switched off.
"I just saw it as something I was doing. Something I was regretting. Something I didn't know how to get myself out of. I don't know why I did it, I feel like I'm not talking about me when I say it."
But she said she was too scared to put a stop to the relationship.
McKay told the court: "Each time I refused him, he would get angry with me and I thought this it. He is going to tell somebody."
But Richard Scott, prosecuting, accused her of lying and trying to get the schoolboy to take part in the "cover-up" by lying to his family.
He said she had crossed a boundary by having sex with the teen. But McKay told the court: "I'm not lying to you."