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Prison for pupil affair teacher

A drama head who fathered a child during a five-year affair with his pupil has been jailed for 12 months.

Simon Parsons, 52, had sex with the 17-year-old at the school where he taught for 30 years, as well as at hotels and his home.

The relationship continued after the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, left the Castle School in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire.

Parsons' wife "bore" the affair and forgave her husband, who returned to the family unit after the girl ended the relationship in her early 20s.

Police arrested the respected teacher of 30 years after the girl's family uncovered the identity of her child's father and wanted to protect other pupils.

The father-of-two later admitted five counts of sexual activity with a child in a position of trust and was jailed today despite a plea for leniency from his wife.

In an email to Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, his wife said: "He is not a monster, he is a gentle man who made a massive mistake".

Parsons, dressed in a black t-shirt and trousers, remained emotionless as the judge jailed him for 12 months in front of his victim's family.

"You were a mature married man with a child of your own," the judge said. "She was your pupil living at home with her parents.

"Initially you hid your actions from your wife but she became aware of them.

"You didn't see the girl as a victim of unlawful or inappropriate behaviour but you now know that your behaviour has had a real impact upon her.

"I am sure that she is right when she describes the consequences of your actions as resulting in her feeling confused and lost.

"She said she was let down by a teacher whom she looked up to and trusted."

The judge said sentencing guidelines offered him the opportunity to suspend a sentence of immediate custody.

However, he handed Parsons the highest sentence the guidelines would allow, having reduced it following the teacher's early admission of guilt.

"Pupils from time to time will find themselves attracted to teachers," the judge added.

"A teacher, of course, has a duty to ensure that he does not take advantage of that situation.

"It is important that the public appreciate that those who behave as you have will receive immediate custodial sentences."

Parsons, who resigned as a teacher last year, was banned from working with children and vulnerable people in the future.


From Belfast Telegraph