A teacher who had sex with one of his students in a classroom was today jailed for 16 months.
Married Mark Westcott, 48, began the affair with the girl when she was just 16 and had gone to see him for pastoral support.
The design and technology teacher had given her his mobile phone number after one of his classes.
Their relationship soon developed from flirty texts into kissing and full consensual sex.
The affair began when the girl was aged 16 and taking her GCSEs in Year 11 at a school in the Bath area and continued when she joined the sixth form.
She even babysat Westcott’s children and became a friend of his wife, Swindon Crown Court heard.
They first kissed on a school ski trip earlier this year and their relationship soon turned physical.
Prosecutor Siobhan Linsley said: ‘The text messages became less innocent over time and by the summer of this year.
‘It is right to say that the pair were sneaking around at school and beginning to meet up in the design and technology block.
‘Both of them admitted at this time they were close and she performed oral sex on him.’
They first slept together at a Travelodge hotel, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, in August this year and later also had sex in a room adjacent to the school sports hall.
During the summer holidays, while Westcott was on holiday with his family in France, the pair sent naked photographs of each other, the court was told.
‘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 prosecutor said.
By the autumn the relationship began to cool as the girl began seeing someone else.
‘She had a boyfriend near her own age and that shocked the defendant,’ Miss Linsley said, adding that they had been arguing because he ‘could not bear her being with someone else’.
However, they continued to see each other and the girl last performed oral sex on Westcott just days before police arrested him in October.
‘The pair returned to school after the summer holidays,’ Miss Linsley said.
‘They would meet up on a daily basis but they had begun to discuss reducing the times they saw each other because they were beginning to feel they would get caught out.’
The affair was first reported to police after the NSPCC received an anonymous call and later a pupil told another teacher that the girl was seeing someone.
Initially the teenager refused to co-operate but soon gave detectives a statement detailing their relationship.
‘Westcott told police that he had been unable to end the relationship between the two of them,’ Miss Linsley said.
‘He also said the ring was for her birthday and not an engagement and that he was joking when he called her Mrs Westcott.’
Miss Linsley also read extracts from a letter written by the girl’s mother.
She wrote: ‘As a family I feel we have all been taken in by him. We absolutely trusted him and thought he provided pastoral support during her difficult times.
‘We never thought he would cross his professional boundaries.’
Westcott admitted to police: ‘I know I was the adult in this and I should have acted in a better way.’
At an earlier hearing Westcott, from North Wraxall, Wiltshire, admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust.
Although he has separated from his wife Deborah, she was in court today to support him.
Charles Row, defending, said Westcott was remorseful and sorry for what he had done.
‘He has let so many people down, himself, his family and the teaching profession,’ Mr Row said.
‘He is ashamed for his failure of resolve, self control, and bluntly, his will.
‘The path he has so carefully followed as a good and distinguished teacher for nearly 20 years he suddenly left.
‘He has lost his reputation, his family, his home, his career, his livelihood and his pension.
‘It will live with him for the rest of his life.’
Mr Row said Westcott, who had worked at the school for around 20 years, had tried to end the relationship in the summer but had failed.
‘He admits he was the adult and for some unknown reason he couldn’t stop himself,’ he said.
‘He adored her and there was genuine affection between the two. Part of him was telling him to stop but his misguided love was pushing him along.’
Judge Douglas Field jailed Westcott for 16 months and placed him on the sex offenders register for 10 years.
‘You are 48 years of age and between February and October this year you formed an entirely inappropriate relationship with a girl who was 16 and then became 17 and this was a very, very serious breach of trust,’ the judge told him.
‘You were under a high duty of trust as a teacher and you were responsible for her pastoral care and, in breach of that, this relationship developed into a sexual relationship.
‘This is a very, very serious case. Your best mitigation is that you pleaded guilty at the first opportunity which means this young complainant would not be involved in these proceedings.
‘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.
‘The fact is, girls like this need protection and she looked to you for pastoral support and she ended up in a highly inappropriate relationship with you.’
Westcott was suspended by the school when he was arrested and has since been sacked.
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