Teacher aide denies sex with pupil
A teaching assistant accused of having sex with a pupil wept as she told a jury she had never been unfaithful to her husband.
Helen Turnbull, 35, admits kissing the 16-year-old boy during a brief affair as her marriage crumbled, and told a jury she enjoyed the attention she got from the flirtatious and sexualised messages they sent each other.
But the mother-of-two told Teesside Crown Court: "I have never had sex with (the teenager, who cannot be identified). (He) has never had sex in the back of my car.
"I have never done anything sexual apart from kissing. It just never happened."
The literacy assistant is accused of grooming the pupil with sweets, attention and hugs, swapping messages over the internet with him, then having sex with him on three occasions in her Mini convertible.
She admits one count of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust - relating to the kissing - but denies three further counts.
Wearing a burgundy jacket and skirt, grey tights and matching grey high heels, she wept several times as she started her defence.
Anne Richardson, defending, asked Turnbull what the boy expected would happen on the second time they met up in secret.
The defendant replied: "He was quite clear, (he) was interested in having sex."
Miss Richardson asked: "What did you want to do about that?"
Turnbull tearfully replied: "The very thought of it... I have been with the same person since I was 20 years old. I haven't had sex with anyone else."
She said she had a one-night stand before she met her ex-husband, and had told him and he would frequently bring the subject up during their marriage.
She and husband Ben have since divorced, the court has heard.
Miss Richardson asked about the sexually explicit messages that she and the boy sent each other. "I really wish now I had never sent them," Turnbull said. "It was sexualised chat, being able to flirt with someone, I enjoyed getting some attention."
She said the next morning she would realise what was happening was wrong, and she would try to finish it with the pupil.
When they would meet at an industrial estate, they would discuss clothes, music, his personal life and they would smoke together, she said.
After kissing him at one meeting they swapped messages and she told him she had caught sight of the clinch in the car mirror. She told him the sight made her shake and had turned her on.
He asked her why they had not "done anything" if she was turned on, the jury heard. "Not ready", she typed back, the court was told.
By the complainant's account, they had already had sex when that online exchange took place, the court heard.
Turnbull, from Haswell, County Durham, then tearfully denied ever having sex with him.
She also cried when she told the jury she can no longer teach, having found the job rewarding.
Asked if she thought sending the pupil messages had been wrong, Turnbull said: "In terms of my job, yes, of course I did."
But she had been lonely and felt low, she told the court, and enjoyed the instant replies she received to her messages.
The trial continues.
Turnbull said when she jokingly made references to having him shot, he took them seriously, and said smoking cannabis made him paranoid.
"He seemed to get wrapped up in things that were dramatic," she said. "He was smoking cannabis and having paranoia. This is an example of that. He has taken something clearly the wrong way, blown it out of all proportion.
"It didn't matter how many times I tried to clarify it, he didn't listen."
When she started to get anonymous messages warning her that there were rumours about an affair with the pupil, she was scared.
"I know full well I got myself into this situation, but when you hear things said about you that are not true, it is terrifying," she told the jury.