January 2001

Teacher who seduced pupil jailed for two years

A teacher who seduced a schoolgirl and sent explicit e-mails, before having sex with her, has been jailed for two years.

Jason Kevin Ratcliffe, 25, bombarded the girl with more than 130 e-mails before enticing her to have sex with him.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Ratcliffe fell for the teenager while working as a science teacher at Shotton Hall Comprehensive School, in Peterlee, County Durham.

Ratcliffe, of Webster House, Gilesgate, County Durham, admitted two charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 16, and one count of indecent assault.

He originally denied everything until his four-day trial was due to start.

The court heard he first cornered the girl in the deputy head’s office one Saturday morning and kissed and hugged her.

The relationship started to blossom, but he cooled it down after being warned by fellow teachers that he was jeopardising his job.

But the relationship restarted some time later and eventually led to sex.

Tim Bubb, prosecuting, said the relationship came to light in February last year, when the girl confessed to a teacher that she had had sex with Ratcliffe.

The court heard he had become consumed with jealousy when the girl started a new relationship with a boy at the school, and began marking down their work.

Michael Hodson, defending, said Ratcliffe was emotionally naive and quoted a probation report which said: ”He is emotionally congruent with children of that age.”

”Either he chose a career which enabled him to become close to children or if, as is more likely, he found himself involv-ed in these offences through naivety and on emotional congruence with children.”

Ratcliffe was given two consecutive 12-month sentences for having underage sex and a 12-month concurrent sentence for the indecent assault.

He will remain on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.