Febuary 2010

Lancashire teaching assistant 23, avoids jail over relationship with pupil

A ‘CUNNING’ teaching assistant has been sentenced after starting a relationship with a vulnerable pupil at a special school.

Kerry Ramsden, 23, Robert Street, Radcliffe had just over a two-month affair with the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons but was a pupil at a Lancashire special school.

The pair’s relationship included them ‘cuddling and kissing passionately’ and on one occasion they took a day trip to Blackpool where Ramsden paid for a hotel so they could be together, the court heard.

In the space of just two months Ramsden had sent several hundreds affectionate text messages, would travel four hours a day on public transport to meet him and communicated at length with him on Facebook and MSN, the court was told.

Ramsden used an assumed name and younger age when she met the boy’s family on a number of occasions on May 2008 to September 2008, Preston Crown Court was told.

Prosecuting Andrew Brown said the boy had special educational needs and behavioural problems.

He said: “The boy was emotionally delayed and naive.

“It is right to say that the parents of the boy have noted the break up of the relationship led to a distinct deterioration in behaviour both at home and at school.”

Ramsden was on a 10-week temporary contract at the school and started as a voluntary kitchen helper preparing sandwiches and assisting with lunch before progressing to a classroom assistant.

She admitted sexual activity with a child between May and September 2008 and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity during the same period.

During sentencing Michael Byrne placed Ramsden, who cried in the dock, on the sex offenders register.

Judge Byrne said: “Firstly, there was an element of a breach of trust on the defendant’s part: she was a member of staff and he was a pupil. Secondly by virtue of his condition there was an element of vulnerability.”

He sentenced Ramsden to a two-year community order, two-year supervision order and was required to carry out 50 hours of unpaid work after she developed a relationship with a pupil at Lancashire special school.

Defending Tina Landale said her client was ‘not a stupid woman’, adding: “She is a foolish women and sent shockwaves through her family.”

After the case, the boy’s mum, who lives in Chorley, said Ramsden was her ‘son’s first love’ and that she had taken away ‘his innocence’.

She said: “This is closure for us and we can now move on.”

After the case Detective Constable Catherine Thomas described Ramsden as ‘clever and cunning’.