February 2018

Married father-of-three maths teacher who continued sexually abusing 15-year-old girl even after her father warned him off is jailed for five years

A married father-of-three who worked as a maths teacher has been jailed for five years for sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl even after her furious family warned him off.

‘Besotted’ Nigel Bristowe was 30 years older than his victim when he started a relationship with her in 1999.

Bristowe, now 63, was counted as a friend of the victim’s family and taught 11 and 14-year-olds at Shepshed High School in Loughborough.

He appeared at Leicester Crown Court last week where he pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault, between 1999 and 2000. 

The girl attended a different school to the one Bristowe taught at and was not one of his pupils, but lived near him at the time.

Matthew Lowe, prosecuting, said the defendant was 45-years-old when he committed the offences, when the girl was ‘vulnerable’ and on medication for depression.

She suffered feelings of isolation, anxiety and had self-harmed.

Mr Lowe said while Bristowe’s wife and children were away, the defendant invited the victim round to their home, and gained her confidence with compliments and flirting.

Mr Lowe told the court: ‘For a girl who was depressed, those compliments were well received by her and she says she enjoyed the attention she was unable to get elsewhere.’

When the wife and children again went away, they ended up hugging and kissing on the sofa, later progressing to sexual activity.

After that, they met elsewhere for further encounters, including at an electrical sub-station and in Bristowe’s car, sometimes before she went to school and he went off to teach.

The relationship continued even after the victim’s father discovered in her diary details of the abuse and warned him off.

But Bristowe failed to honour his promise to stop seeing her. 

Eventually, she terminated their relationship.

She later described the defendant as being ‘angry’, and, Mr Lowe said, she ‘felt he was then following her around the village’.

The victim eventually gathered the courage to report it to the police last year, and Bristowe was arrested.

Now in her early 30s, the victim described, in a statement read out in court, how he had ‘exploited my vulnerability’ when she was ‘lonely and unhappy’.

She said: ‘At first he took an interest in my life and his concern made me feel important; I believed he loved me.

‘He used my issues to abuse me; the only reason was so that he could have sex with me.

‘I felt used and ashamed.’

Mr Lowe said: ‘Even to this day she still struggles with feelings of worthlessness.’

Bristowe, of Hathern, near Loughborough, was jailed for five years.

Judge Robert Brown told the court that since the abuse happened, Bristowe has ‘lived a perfectly ordinary life, and she (the victim) has woken up every day with the psychological damage gnawing away at her’.

He told the defendant: ‘I have to sentence you for abusing a young girl 30 years your junior in 1999 and 2000.

‘It involved the abuse of trust of a young girl, who was vulnerable and lacking confidence.

‘You groomed her, there’s no doubt.

‘Whilst this abuse was going on, her father took you aside and he squared up to you, and eyeballed you, and told you to stop it.

‘You agreed, but within a week you were back in contact with that girl and continued as before. That’s an aggravating feature as far as I’m concerned.

‘Your best mitigation is your guilty plea, your remorse and previous good character.

‘What you had with this girl was a full-blown sexual relationship for eight months.

‘She would do your bidding. You satisfied your urges with a variety of sexual acts, albeit, for legal reasons, there cannot be a count of sexual intercourse.

‘This involved grooming: seduction of someone who did not have the (legal) capacity to consent (because of her age).

‘You will be on a sex offender register for life, which means you must notify the police of wherever you live.’

The judge said the defendant had apologised and expressed remorse in a letter to the court.

He said references and testimonials from Bristowe’s family and friends stated that he had, in many ways, been ‘a credit to your family and in the community’.

He added: ‘But what I have to sentence you for is very serious, and none of that can save you from the inevitable sentence, which is custody.’

The judge said Bristowe’s family, who were ‘entirely blameless’, were understandably shocked and devastated.

James Armstrong-Holmes, mitigating, said: ‘This was a consensual relationship.

‘There was fondness between the two.’

Judge Brown interrupted, saying: ‘She was 15 and he was 45.’

Mr Armstrong-Holmes said: ‘At the time, he wrote her a letter saying he was besotted with her; emotional feelings were involved.

‘He knows he made an error of judgement.’

Judge Brown said: ‘Her father squared up to him and read the riot act. The stern warning by the victim’s father made no difference.

‘This was a breach of trust.’

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