Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

The sacked sir and his gymslip lover

By Ciaran McGuigan

A music teacher given the boot from one of Ulster’s top grammar schools after having a fling with a pupil has now shacked up with his gymslip lover.

Sunday Life can reveal that while cops continue to probe his relationship with the former pupil, singing coach Darron Moore is understood to have moved the teen into his rented bachelor pad on the north Down ‘Gold Coast’.

Moore was given the boot from Methodist College after the school’s head was alerted to the relationship he had struck up with the pupil — 25 years his junior.

The school axed the peripatetic singing master after they were told about the affair by the teenage girl’s worried parents.

Cops were alerted to Moore’s relationship with the pupil by her parents at around the same time as the school.

It’s believed police later approached Moore at the school and it is understood he has since been interviewed by detectives and his Helen’s Bay apartment visited by officers.

Although the girl turned 18 last May — and left the school following exams a month later — Moore had been teaching her since she had been 16.

Sunday Life understands that police are examining evidence, including computers, to determine if it indicates an improper relationship between the school child and one of her teachers existed before her 18th birthday.

Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is an offence for anyone in a position of trust with a child under 18 years of age to be involved in sexual activity with that child, or to incite the child to engage in sexual activity.

If convicted, jail terms can be up to six months for someone convicted of a summary offence or up to five years for someone convicted on indictment.

The legislation last week sparked a war of words between teaching unions and child safety organisations.

The general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers Chris Keates claimed in a Tonight show interview that teachers having affairs with pupils over the age of consent should escape prosecution and not be placed on the sex offenders register.

Her criticism of the sex offences legislation was condemned by the NSPCC policy advisor Zoe Hilton, who defended the law, saying it was there to protect children.

Police are still investigating reports passed on to them in relation to Moore and another former teacher at Methodist College who, in a completely separate case, was sacked for having behaved inappropriately with a pupil.

Said a PSNI spokesman: “Police are currently carrying out investigations into two members of staff at a Belfast school.

“As these inquiries are both ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

In relation to Moore, Methodist College principal Scott Naismith said: “The college was made aware of the development of a relationship involving a peripatetic teacher and a pupil.

“The situation was dealt with following the college’s disciplinary procedures and the individual concerned is no longer at the college. All relevant bodies have been informed.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education added: “We are aware that a peripatetic teacher who was working at Methodist College during the last academic year has been suspended on a precautionary basis following receipt of a formal complaint from the parents of a pupil.

“The school has correctly pursued the matter under its disciplinary procedures and the Belfast Education and Library Board and the department have been informed.”

As well as taking singing lessons at the college, Moore is also understood to have occasionally offered private tutoring to singing pupils at his home.

He is also one third of a novelty singing act — Cameoflage — that is booked to play at weddings and other functions.

The act involves baritone Moore playing the part of a master of ceremonies, along with a chef and a waitress, who then all burst into song in front of unsuspecting guests. The talent agency boss who books Moore’s act last week said he continued to work at weddings during the police investigation.

Said GH Entertainment boss Glen Houston: “Of course he is (continuing to take bookings), that’s his act, it’s entirely up to him if he takes bookings. “I only sub-contract the act, as many other entertainment companies do.”

When Sunday Life approached Moore at his home last week he told our reporter: “I have nothing to say.”

And when asked if his partner would come down to speak to us, he slammed the door shut in the reporter’s face.

Moore’s dismissal was one of two pupil/teacher scandals to have rocked Methodist College this year.

Former technology teacher Mark Adair was also sacked by the school after being allegedly involved in inappropriate behaviour with a female pupil.

Married Adair, also a cricketer with Ballymena Cricket Club, was dismissed in June.

In the wake of Adair’s sacking, a Department of Education spokesman said: “We have been made aware that a teacher from Methodist College, Belfast has been dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct following breaches of the school's child protection policy.

“The school has correctly pursued the matter under its disciplinary procedures and the department has been informed.”

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