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School worker avoids jail after pupil sex encounter

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 21, 2014

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A DRAMA technician who had a sexual encounter with a pupil in a classroom during a school disco has dodged jail after the mother of one of his victims wrote to the judge.

James Riddell, of The Evergreens, Stretton, admitted starting sexual activity with two pupils at Trinity Catholic School, in Bilborough, Nottingham.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing sexually explicit pictures of the two girls, who were aged 16 and 17 and cannot be identified for legal reasons.

But Nottingham Crown Court heard how the mother of one of the girls wrote a letter in support of him.

Stuart Newsam, for Riddell, said the letter stated the girl’s mother had ‘no reservations’ about what happened between the pair .

The court heard how the 23-year-old drove one of the girls to ‘a private and secluded area’.

Julia King, prosecuting, said: “One of the counts relates to a school disco where the defendant was the DJ.

“During it there was a clandestine meeting between him and one of the girls. There he asked the girl to perform a sex act on him – telling her ‘if you love me you would do it’.”

One of the two girls admitted she met Riddell in his school office and they exchanged text messages, some of which were sexually explicit.

Riddell was arrested, his mobile phone was seized and police found sexually explicit pictures of the two girls on them.

Riddell pleaded guilty to four counts of inciting a child under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity, and four counts of possessing indecent photographs of a child.

Justice John Royce handed Riddell a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He also handed him a five-year sex offenders prevention order, and he will be on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Justice Royce said: “Children under the age of 18 sometimes need to be protected from themselves – there’s a vulnerability and they may fall into temptation. But I take the view that you are fundamentally a decent young man.”

Mr Newsam said: “In 2012, he suffered the emotional upset of losing his brother. He was seeking emotional as well as physical intimacy. He has lost his job at the school and now works part-time as a delivery driver.”

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