Belfast Telegraph

Pal's fury at being duped by piano test teacher

BY PAUL HIGGINS

A WOMAN unwittingly duped into helping a dodgy piano teacher has branded her former friend a liar and a cheat.

Lyndsay, who does not want her surname published, told how she was fooled into pretending to be an external examiner in fake music exams sat by seven children.

She was drawn into the deception by disgraced teacher Claire Thompson (25).

Thompson called on her university friend Lindsay to help with the exams.

The first the friend knew there was anything amiss was when the police got in touch.

"They wanted to know if I was in on it, but I gave them a massive statement," she said.

"I had absolutely no idea what she was up to. One time she told me she wanted her pupil to go through a practice test before their real exam.

"On another occasion she claimed the child's parents couldn't afford to pay for two exams in quick succession, so she wanted someone to sit in to make sure that they could play the piece."

She said Thompson – who she branded "lying and cheating" – used her to mark some exams.

"It was Claire who handed me blank pieces of paper to make notes, marking sheets with marks out of 30 and even questions to ask the kids," she said.

"There was one time myself, Claire and the teenage girl who had sat her grade five piano went out to lunch after the exam, but that's all I got out of it – lunch."

Last Thursday at Lisburn Magistrates Court mother-of-one Thompson, from Old Hillsborough Road in the city, received a two-year probation order.

The court heard Thompson had legitimately been teaching piano to seven children from five different families, but that her dishonesty arose when it came to putting them through exam grades.

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