A London school teacher has been jailed after she admitted to having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old pupil.
Erin Hebblewhite, 29, a physical education teacher at the Connaught School for Girls, pleaded guilty to seven charges which involved her using her position to groom and sexually abuse the teenage girl.
Hebblewhite Took the Girl's Virginity in Restaurant Bathroom
Hebblewhite was employed at the Leytonstone, London, school when she picked out the pupil as her "favourite." She then exchanged phone numbers with the girl and started sending her flirty text messages in which she confessed her attraction to the girl.
Hebblewhite then started a sexual relationship with the girl, becoming the first person to kiss her and taking the girl's virginity in the bathroom of a restaurant where they enjoyed a meal on Valentine's Day. She also tried to pressure the girl into having sex in the toilets of a clothing store during a shopping trip.
The pair even had sex at the teacher's home, where Hebblewhite even took explicit photos of them engaging in sexual activity. Around 400 images and messages between the pair were recovered by police after her arrest. The contents included images of both the teacher and the student naked and in bed together as well as photos of them kissing as a couple.
Affair Exposed After Girl's Family Found Messages from Hebblewhite
The teacher and pupil's illicit relationship was exposed after the girl's family confiscated her phone and found messages from Hebblewhite. The family immediately prompting alerted the authorities who arested the teacher on October 28.
Hebblewhite pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual activity with a child, sexual activity in the presence of a child and two charges of making indecent photographs. She was sentenced to two years behind bars in Snaresbrook crown court. Moreover, she has been banned from contacting the teenager for the next ten years and will be under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order to stop her working with children or being alone with them.
School Releases Statement
In the wake of the court ruling, the Headteacher of Connaught School for Girls, Avani Higgins, reassured parents that she was not the headteacher of the school at the time of the incident and that the school was a safe place for their children.
"Since taking over as headteacher I have made the safeguarding of children the very top priority at this school," Higgins said in her statement." Subsequently, Ofsted and the local authority have done a very rigorous safeguarding inspection of the school and found our procedures are robust, effective and those children are well looked after."
"I can categorically state that your children are safe at our school," she added. "If parents or members of the community have any questions, I invite them to make contact with me directly via our school office."