Teacher jailed for affair with schoolgirl

Richard Stevens.

Richard Stevens. - Credit: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

A TEACHER has been sacked and jailed for four years after having an affair with a Weston schoolgirl.

Richard Stevens was told by a Bristol Crown Court judge he had ‘utterly failed’ his teenage pupil and her parents by committing a series of sexual offences against her.

The 35-year-old - who is soon to become a father - pleaded guilty to one count of sexual touching and 10 counts of sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl.

The court heard the relationship had been consensual and began when the girl developed a crush on Stevens when she was 14.

Robert Duval, prosecuting, said she began to flirt with the teacher - whose school we cannot name to protect the girl’s identity - and he failed to exercise any form of ‘restraint.’

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He said: “They started meeting socially out of school and she attended his home address and had deep and meaningful conversations about their lives.

“It followed on from there at his home address where he had sexual intercourse with the girl.”

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Mr Duval said the relationship involved no coercion, and after five months Stevens ended it to take up a new one with an adult.

Mr Duval said: “The young girl was very distressed at the time and suffered badly.”

When the schoolgirl also started a new relationship, the details of the affair came out and the girl and her new boyfriend approached the NSPCC and made a complaint to the police.

Mr Duval said: “In his interview (Stevens) accepted there was a relationship but no wrongdoing. A week later he came back to the police station, apologised for wasting the officer’s time and said he wished to tell the truth and admitted all the matters that he has pleaded guilty to.”

Mark Hollier, defending, said: “This is not a case for targeting an individual and then grooming them.”

“He returned to the police station without a solicitor and was interviewed and made a series of frank admissions. This is almost unheard of in cases of this gravity.

“Too many complainants do not have the advantage of an honest and generally decent offender. He’s not the insensitive brute that this offence first suggests he is.”

Mr Hollier also said the offences started when Stevens’ marriage was failing.

He said: “The loneliness became distorted into affection for a girl who he should not have associated with.

“He is terrified of going to prison but has the courage to admit to these offences.”

In sentencing, Judge Martin Picton said: “You knew when she made the initial approach to you how you should have acted.

“You should have reported it and done the right thing but you did not.

“You knew every time you had intercourse with her you committed a criminal offence and yet you continued to do it over a five-month period.

“You were a teacher in the school and you utterly failed to provide the trust and respect she and her parents were entitled to receive.

“There are very good things said about you and they are difficult when placed against what you have done. But you’re going pay a heavy price for this wrongdoing.”

Stevens, of Butterfield Park, Clevedon, was sentenced to four years in prison, of which he will serve at least two.

He was also permanently disqualified from working with children, placed on the sex offenders list and ordered to sign onto the sexual offenders’ register, where he will remain permanently.

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