September 2017

Biggleswade teacher groomed 16-year-old pupil before sending her picture of his penis

A disgraced teacher from Biggleswade who groomed a 16-year-old pupil before bombarding her with obscene sexts and a picture of his penis has today been spared jail.

A Luton Crown Court judge heard that Ricky Sedani – formerly of Chamberlain Park, but now of Banbury in Oxfordshire – told the girl he “wanted a bit of excitement because he wasn’t getting it from his wife”, and sat beside her in a classroom before touching her thigh and asking what perfume she was wearing.

Married dad-of-two Sedani stood in the dock a broken man as Judge Barbara Mensah slammed the 34-year-old’s behaviour as “persistent, graphic and obscene” – before sparing him jail for the sake of his family.

The judge said: “When parents send their children to school, they expect them to be taught by the teachers, but also for the teachers to protect them.

“It’s particularly distressing to the child – who expects the same – to come across a teacher who behaves in a way you did.

“The details that have been set out indicate a certain degree of planning or grooming, and also a certain degree of persistence. It’s quite clear that the child made clear that she was not in any way interested.

“In effect you have ruined this year of her life, and this will remain with her a very long time – if not the rest of her life.”

Judge Mensah sentenced Sedani to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, under conditions including that he sign the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years, attend and complete a sex offender treatment programme, and never work with children again.

She said: “This is a sentence that I think will properly punish you for what you have done and properly protect future generations of children from the sort of disgusting and abusive behaviour which you have inflicted on your victim.

“You are the author of your own misfortune.”

Sedani had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to inciting sexual activity with and inappropriately touching a girl under 17 while in a position of trust.

Prosecutor Ann Evans told the court that the incidents happened over a few months at a school in Bedfordshire.

Sedani started to act in a way the girl called “creepy” before telling her repeatedly that he dreamed about her, and that she was like a “supermodel” while he was an ugly “potato”.

Ms Evans said Sedani then gave her his details for the online messaging app Snapchat before repeatedly telling her that they could only communicate outside school “or other people would become suspicious”.

“When she tried to get him to stop paying attention to her, he challenged her – saying because of the way that society is today a man of his age and a 16-year-old girl just can’t be friends,” said Ms Evans.

“He told her he wanted a bit of excitement because he wasn’t getting it from his wife. He told her how he wanted to leave teaching and open a restaurant.

“He tried to suggest it might be different if they had met in a nightclub. She said: ‘No, you have a wife and kids’.”

After the incident when Sedani touched the girl in the classroom, he started sending obscene Snapchat messages – describing sex acts before offering to pick her up in his car and sending her a picture of his penis.

Ms Evans said that Sedani later sent further pictures, including one with his children in the background – and began “even making it obvious at school”.

Sedani claimed that the girl had at one point come close to him and said she “preferred older men” – but both the victim and the judge categorically refuted this.

Aisling Byrnes, for Sedani, admitted that the defendant’s behaviour amounted to “grooming” – but described him as a brilliant teacher who was anxious to make what amends he could to society.

She said that he had been regularly using cannabis and drinking to excess at the time of the crimes, but was now teetotal and drug-free – and that the 34-year-old’s wife, also a teacher, had written a heartfelt letter forgiving him.

“It’s clear that we have here a man who is covered with remorse,” said Ms Byrnes.

“The consequences of his actions have included a deep sense of remorse but also a loss of trust within his marriage, family and community.

“He would like to apologise to his victim and her parents, who he can imagine are going through the most horrific time.”

Ms Byrnes read out several testimonials attesting to Sedani’s good character and teaching vocation – including one in which he was ironically praised for providing a safe environment for pupils.

She said: “The demolition of Mr Sedani’s career, aspirations and family life at his own hand mean that Mr Sedani has been and continues to be punished amply.

“He will be paying for this mistake for the rest of his life.”

The conditions of Sedani’s suspended sentence include completing a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement and respecting a home curfew from 8pm to 7am each night for three months. He must also pay £1,250 costs.

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