March 2019

Boarding school deputy housemaster, 41, who told a 15-year-old girl he wanted to take a bath with her and tie her up with ribbon is jailed for 36 weeks

A deputy housemaster at a private Lancashire boarding school who told a 15-year-old student he would like to take a bath with her and tie her up with ribbon has been jailed for 36 weeks.  

Geography and geology teacher Mark Hannah, 41, swapped a series of messages with the girl over Instagram in which he said she looked ‘beautiful’ after she asked to join his after-class basketball club. 

During a month-long period between September and October last year, Hannah told the girl how she had ‘stood out to him’ since she was in year 9 and said he would like to take her out for meals and walks.

In one message Hannah said: ‘I would be the happiest man on earth if we could stop hiding our feelings and I could quit my job.’ 

On one occasion during a lesson he secretly drew a love heart on a piece of paper and wrote the letter U in it before giving it to the girl.

Hannah was arrested after the girl shared some of the messages with a classmate who alerted her mother.

Inquiries revealed he had previously dated a 17 year old girl when he was 33 and had taken indecent pictures of her.

At Preston Crown Court, Hannah of Birchington, Kent who was educated at a school for military families in Germany pleaded guilty to inciting an underage girl into sexual activity and making indecent images and was jailed for 36 weeks.

He blamed his actions on working ‘long hours with no recognition’ but a judge told him that his actions ‘undermined trust in the teaching profession.’

Prosecutor, Paul Cummings, said: ‘The defendant was a Geography teacher and the victim was a 15 year old pupil there at the time.

‘Contact began with the pupil when she sent an email message enquiring about after school basketball and the defendant was responsible for the running of that. The defendant responded and then a subsequent email exchange began between the two of them.

‘They then starts to communicate over Instagram and, during the course of sending these messages, it became apparent that he was making inappropriate comments. On one occasion, she broke her finger and then he sent her an email with a picture of a plaster cast.