September 2018

Father-of-three groomed two girls and took one for sex sessions at M40 service station

A shamed teacher who flew home from a family holiday to have sex with a pupil has been jailed.

Richard Gareth Ackland targeted the 16-year-old after seeing her crying in a classroom at the Warwickshire school where he taught computer science.

Ignoring advice he was given to maintain a professional distance, he invited her out for a drink, kissed her on the lips and she began to meet him after school.

He sent her messages detailing sex acts he wanted them to engage in and took her to a service station hotel on the M40 where they had sex.

They later met for sex a number of times, either at a hotel or a caravan he had in a field.

And Warwick Crown Court heard father-of-three Ackland even flew home from a family holiday to have sex with the girl at his home.

The 43-year-old teacher, of Tisdale Rise, Kenilworth, had previously targeted another 16-year-old, who was also a pupil at his school.

Angus Robertson, prosecuting, said she told him about personal difficulties and he “confided in her about difficulties he had with his wife and issues in their marital relationship”.

He encouraged her to lift her shirt and show her breasts but she refused to let him touch or photograph them and left the room, the court heard.

Ackland then began sending her Facebook messages in which he said he wanted to have sex with her, making similar remarks directly to her at school.

He also took opportunities to stroke her neck and her thigh and touch her breast over her clothing, pressing against her, and lunging at her on one occasion and trying to kiss her

Ackland, who once took her hand and made her touch him over his trousers, kept trying to persuade her to meet him outside school to have sex in his car, but she refused.

Even though the girls were both 16 at the time, the teacher acted illegally because of his position of trust at the school.

When he was arrested, he denied any sexual activity with either girl, maintaining his denials until the day of his trial, Mr Robertson said.

But, on the day he was due to face a jury, Ackland pleaded guilty to inciting one girl to engage in sexual activity, and sexual activity with the other girl, both while in a position of trust as a teacher.

On Friday, he was jailed for two years and ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years.

Judge Anthony Potter told him he had exploited both girls “for your own selfish ends”.

Reading a statement in court, the first girl said: “I never asked for this, and it wasn’t that I wanted a relationship with Ackland.

“He pursued that with me.”

She said she came forward after learning Ackland had left the school but was being advertised as a supply teacher, adding she felt guilty about his second victim.

And that girl said: “I feel angry that he has ruined so much of my life.”

Paul Dhami, defending, said: “The hope in due course is they will be able to put all of this behind them.”

He said psychiatric and pre-sentence reports indicated Ackland had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in around 2012.

Mr Dhami said: “This is a man of previous good character, who was married with children, who had committed himself to the teaching profession and found himself committing offences which were completely out-of-character.

“The way he offended amplified the difficulties he was encountering.

“It became all-consuming for him. In his own mind what he was doing was the right thing to do.

“He accepts the way he conducted himself in relation to both complainants was entirely unacceptable.”

Mr Dhami said Ackland and his wife had divorced as a result of the proceedings, although she continued to be supportive of him, and he had been working to set up his own IT business.

Jailing Ackland, the judge told him: “You were there to nurture and grow the potential of young people.

“One of the most aggravating features is you were to learn they both had particular vulnerabilities which you did nothing to help them with, but exploited for your own selfish ends.

“It was deliberate grooming behaviour.

“This was not in any sense a teacher being stalked by a pupil he found hard to resist, but quite the opposite, you were exploiting a young girl.”

The judge said the first girl had suffered considerable emotional turmoil, and continued:“Notwithstanding that, you began to form an even more harmful relationship with another student.

“I have heard what is said about your bipolar condition, but it is something you used quite cynically for your own purpose.

“Immediate custody is always appropriate when teachers who are trusted with young people, trusted by them and by their parents, ignore that and abuse their responsibility.”

August 2018

Teacher faces jail after sexual activity with pupils

A teacher who abused his position at a Warwick school by taking part in sexual activities with two female pupils has been told to prepare himself for an immediate prison sentence.

Even though the girls were both 16 at the times disgraced Richard Ackland was involved with them, his activity was still an offence because of his position of trust at their school.

Despite clear evidence against him, including messages he had exchanged, the 43-year-old from Kenilworth, initially pleaded not guilty to the charges he faced.

But on the day of his trial at Warwick Crown Court, his barrister Lisa Hancox asked for two of the charges to be put to him again.

Ackland then pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, a 16-year-old girl, while in a position of trust as a teacher at her school.

He also pleaded guilty to causing or inciting a child, another 16-year-old pupil, to engage in sexual activity three or four years earlier, again while in a position of trust.

Ackland had also faced three further charges alleging the possession of indecent images of children, which he had denied.

Prosecutor Angus Robertson saidin view of the guilty pleas to the more serious charges, and the ‘difficulties in answering certain points’ raised about the images by a defence expert, it was not considered appropriate to ask for a trial on those matters.

Asking for the case to be adjourned for a pre-sentence report, Miss Hancox said Ackland, who was now staying at his parents’ address, also in Kenilworth, had never been before the courts before

Judge Sally Hancox adjourned the case, and granted bail with conditions Ackland lived at his parents’ address, had no contact with either girl, and co-operated with the probation service,

And Judge Hancox told Ackland: “You have pleaded guilty to two counts which, I am sure it has been explained to you, are serious and significant.

“The evidence was of a very strong nature. I cannot understate the seriousness of these matters.

“When you next attend before me, the primary thought will be the imposition of an immediate term of custody, such has been your breach of trust in this case.”

Of granting him bail, she added: “It will give you the opportunity to put your personal circumstances in order. You must ready yourself to receive an immediate term of custody.”