July 2016

Maths teacher that groomed schoolgirl exposed by vigilant bus driver

A married high school teacher that groomed a pupil was exposed when an eagle eyed bus driver spotted their early morning meetings

The bus driver became suspicious when she saw a schoolgirl, in uniform and heavily made up, getting off her bus in Horwich and climbing into a car with an older man.

At Bolton Crown Court, Clare Thomas, prosecuting, said that after the meetings were repeated twice more, the bus driver reported her concerns to police.

The 16-year-old girl was traced via her Rivington and Blackrod school uniform and, when questioned, initially claimed that she had been meeting a girlfriend who worked in Chorley.

But when police checked her mobile phone they found more than 3,000 text messages between her and Shaun Brown, assistant head of maths at the Rivington Lane based school.

Miss Thomas said several of the messages were sexually graphic and revealed their plans to have sex at his home in the Easter holidays while 31-year-old Brown’s wife was out.

The court heard how Brown had been spending time with the girl on his own, initially to help her with her studies and they took to meeting in his car before school.

The girl told police that her feelings had grown for him, they swapped mobile phone numbers and, for three weeks they would meet up and kiss in his car.

For a two month period until he was arrested, Brown and the girl exchanged more than 3,000 text messages.

Miss Thomas stated that many of them written by Brown were sexually graphic and suggestive, amounting to grooming of the teenager, which he knew was wrong.

In one message he told the girl, whom he called his “princess”: “The amount of things I am risking proves you are my entire life”.

When Brown discovered police were questioning the schoolgirl, he phoned the school’s deputy head teacher Gillian Bentham and, after admitting that he had been involved with the pupil, was told not to return to school.

Miss Thomas said that the girl now views all men as sexual predators and his text messages made her feel “dirty and worthless.”

“The complainant says her innocence had been taken advantage of,” said Miss Thomas.

“This is someone who was in a position of responsibility who has preyed on this young person.”

Brown, of Measham Close, St Helens, pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child whilst in a position of trust and inciting sexual activity with a child whilst in a position of trust.

He wept in the dock as Martin Pizzey, defending, told how he has now lost his good name, career and his six-year marriage as a result of his crime.

“His fall from grace is effectively complete,” said Mr Pizzey.

Mr Pizzey stressed that Brown had not initially set out to have a relationship with the girl.

“He fully accepts that it was extremely wrong and inappropriate,” he said.

“His simple position he expresses is that he lost his head.”

He added that at the time of the offending Brown, a teacher for 10 years, had suffered a series of family bereavements, including the loss of his father.

Sentencing Brown to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Richard Gioserano described Brown’s conduct as “shameful.”

“It ended not because you desisted from it or came to your senses, but because someone realised something was wrong,” said the judge.

“You created a psychological and emotional relationship with this girl which, in itself, left her psychologically and emotionally harmed.”

Judge Gioserano added that Brown had exploited his position of power over the girl and his crimes had involved a significant degree of planning and grooming.

The judge stressed that he had come close to sending Brown to jail immediately, but had to take into account that Brown has already been punished by the loss of his career and marriage and he believes the public can be better protected by the probation service working with him to prevent any further offending.

In addition to the suspended prison sentence, Brown was ordered to undertake 40 days of rehabilitation activities and a programme requirement and pay a £100 victim surcharge.

A sexual harm prevention order was made banning him from having any contact with the girl indefinitely and he was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

Brown is also banned from working with children and vulnerable adults.