Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

Erin Hebblewhite and Connaught School for Girls.

Sports teacher Erin Hebblewhite admitted to having abused her position at Connaught school for girls to groom and have sex with a 16-year-old (Photo: Metropolitan Police)

A top-nominated teacher broke out in tears as she was jailed for two years for a relationship with a female student.

Erin Hebblewhite, a sports teacher at Connaught School for Girls in East London, pleaded guilty to seven counts of abusing her position to groom and having sex with the 16-year-old girl.

The victim lost his virginity in a restaurant bathroom to the 29-year-old – who had been nominated for the capital’s sports teacher award – Snaresbrook Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Fiona Bryan said the victim ‘felt she had given in to the pressure to behave more and more sexually’ from Hebblewhite, including an attempt to persuade her to have sex on the toilets in Primark.

When gossip spread and thought the rumors were untrue, the school warned the teacher to be ‘careful’, otherwise she could ‘get in trouble’.

The affair was discovered when the girl’s family checked her phone.

When police officers raided Hebblewhites’ home, they found 400 photos of the couple, including one of them naked and kissing.

A general view of the main entrance to Snaresbrook Crown Court in Holybush Hill, Snaresbrook, East London.

The teacher was sentenced to two years in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court (Image: PA Archive / PA Images)

The court heard that the victim, who for legal reasons can not be mentioned, lost his virginity to the teacher in a restaurant toilet and that the couple kissed on the school grounds.

Hebblewhite, originally from Australia but living in Brighton, was also given a ten-year sentence forbidding her from contacting the victim or working with children.

Mitigating, Bethan Rogers said Hebblewhite did not believe her behavior at the time was forceful or nurturing.

“She (now) accepts that this played a role in her behavior,” Ms Rogers said.

‘She is painfully aware that the damage to the victim is both extensive, long lasting and likely to be there for an extended period of time.

Nevertheless, there was genuine devotion and care on her part.

“Through his selfishness and stupidity, this defendant has completely ruined what was a promising career.”

Hebblewhite Prison Judge Neil Sanders said: “Given the number of your offenses, I believe the appropriate punishment can only be obtained by immediate custody.”

Hebblewhite broke down in tears when she was convicted.

The complainant participated alone in the sentencing, but was supported by a police officer for victims.

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