August 2006

Deputy head who seduced two girl pupils is jailed for five years

Stephen Brenchley


A teenager’s family are furious after a deputy headmaster who had sex with her was jailed for just over five years.

Stephen Brenchley, a married father- of-three, embarked on affairs with the girl and another vulnerable pupil that involved sex in classrooms, on school trips and at his home.

Brenchley, 48, groomed his young victims for sex. One was just 13 when they began a three-year relationship. They started having full sex the following year.

His other victim was 15 when they first had sex.

Police fear there could have been other victims during Brenchley’s teaching career and appealed for them to come forward.

The maximum sentence for his crimes was 14 years. But Judge Peter Jacobs jailed him for five years and three months, making him eligible to go free in November 2008 under early-release rules.

The sentence angered those close to the family of his younger victim, who had been hoping for the maximum term.

‘They will be furious,’ said one close friend. ‘Brenchley will be out in time for Christmas 2008 but his victim has to live with how he took advantage of her for the rest of her life.’

Prosecutor Katharine Moore told Norwich Crown Court Brenchley was a ‘dangerous and corrupting influence’.

She added: ‘He used and abused his position to target, groom and sexually abuse two young, vulnerable female victims.’

Brenchley’s first victim was a pupil at Mildenhall Upper School in Suffolk, where he taught geography in the 1980s.

They began meeting after her parents separated when she was 14 and the teacher offered to talk over her problems.

‘After the relationship became sexual he would drive her to places for sex,’ Miss Moore said.

‘He sometimes asked her to hide behind the seats or in the boot. During one school holiday they had sex in the geography room.

‘They also had sex at home at around the time one of his children was being born.’

On one occasion, the girl accompanied him to a teaching conference in Sheffield. It was not until details of his second victim became public last year that the girl, now a married woman, came forward.

Brenchley’s second victim was a pupil at Costessey High School in Norwich, which he joined in 2001.

He began grooming the ’emotionally vulnerable’ 13-year-old after she had been put on report for bad behaviour and told to see him regularly.

The relationship began after she confided in him that she was thinking about having sex with a boy and he told her: ‘Perhaps I can show you how to have sex properly.’

Within months they were having sex in his classroom and on school trips. On his birthday, he bought the girl a sex toy and a thong and bra set.

The affair came to light when the girl ended the relationship after joining the sixth form.

Brenchley confided in a colleague who contacted police, describing him as acting like a ‘lovestruck teenager’.

His 26-year marriage to wife Debbie, a former head of languages at Cromer High School, near the couple’s £350,000 home in West Runton, Norfolk, was ‘in ruins’, the court heard.

The teacher, who has been dismissed from his job was yesterday put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life, banned from working with children and banned from organising or overseeing any events attended by girls under 18.

Brenchley admitted five charges including engaging in sexual activity while in a position of trust and sexual activity with a child.