June 2005

Sex abuse teacher walks free

A teacher who seduced a 15-year-old schoolboy and started a relationship with him behind her boyfriend’s back has walked free from court.

Nicola Prentice, 25, from Sheffield, flirted with pupil Dean Dainty and sent lurid text messages to him before luring him to out-of-school dance lessons and visits to the pub.

They embarked on a 19-month relationship which ended when Prentice became tired of the teenager’s emotional demands after he left school and insisted that she leave her boyfriend.

Prentice, of Loughton, pleaded guilty to two counts of abusing her position of trust by mutual touching and sexual intercourse with the boy and was given a 12-month suspended sentence by a judge at Leicester Crown Court.

Prentice, who will never teach again and will have to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years, wept uncontrollably in the dock as she was sentenced.

Judge Michael Stokes QC, sentencing, said that the complainant, now 19, had made it quite clear that he did not want her to go to jail.

He said he also believed she had suffered enough after Mr Dainty approached newspapers with his story.

He said: “It has to be appreciated that anyone who is in a position of trust, like a teacher, must not have sexual relations of any kind with a pupil under the age of 18.

“Just think of the trouble and heartache you could have avoided if you had used your common sense and maintained your position as a teacher with this young man.

“I don’t want it to be thought in any quarter that a woman can expect to be treated any more leniently than a man.

“I am not going to send you to prison because I feel that what you have been through has been substantial punishment and the circumstances of your offending, while serious and meriting a custodial sentence, are exceptional.

“I suspect from all I have read about Dean Dainty that he would be mortified if he had felt he had caused you to go to prison.”

He later added as she left the dock: “Don’t you dare do anything like this again.”

Prentice, who was 22 and in her first teaching job in north Nottinghamshire when the relationship started, left court with her boyfriend following the hearing and made no comment to the waiting media.