March 2014

Married teacher who played footsie with sixth form student given community order

A teacher has been hauled before court accused of playing footsie with a sixth-former under a desk.

Edward Collins persistently ‘sexted’ the pupil on Twitter- on one occasion saying he ‘dreamed of spooning’ her – while working at Xaverian sixth-form college in Rusholme, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Dad-of-one Collins, 32, was marched off the premises by police after his encounters with the student came to light.

He has now been convicted of four charges of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust, after admitting touching the girl on the leg and kissing her on the cheek.

Another of the charges related to ‘playing footsie’, where he secretly touched the girl’s feet with his own, and the fourth related to an earlier pupil with a ‘something of crush on him’ who was touched on the leg by him in 2007.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Collins, of Manor Road, Stretford, has since resigned from his £39,000 a year job as a maths teacher.

Speaking of the most recent victim Michael Maher, prosecuting, said she received 1,000 tweets from him, ‘sometimes every ten minutes, often late into the night’.

“Some of the messages were downright inappropriate, he indicated he was dreaming about her being in bed with him and spooning. He would make jokes about dragging her into the stockroom cupboard with him. On her birthday he closed the door of his office, pulled her into a hug and kissed her on the cheek.

“He would find her feet under the desk and to use the colloquialism, play footsie with her. He was later to say in tweets this made his ‘heart race’.”

In a statement, the girl described feeling like a ‘cheap and dirty person’, revealed how her studies suffered as she tried to avoid him, and turned to drink as her sixth-form years became ‘coloured with guilt and shame’.

Senior teachers learnt what Collins was up to from an overheard conversation, and his offence against the earlier victim, who he had sent emails ‘asking for sex’, came out.

Collins has been made subject to a three-year community order, with a requirement to attend a sex offenders’ programme. A sexual offences prevention order bars him from teaching under 18-year-olds.