October 2006

Teaching assistant who had affair with 14-year-old pupil walks free

A teaching assistant who had an affair with a 14-year-old pupil has escaped a prison sentence.

Nicola Jackson, a married mother-of-three, bombarded the boy with letters and text messages.

She told him he made her feel young again and sent him messages saying “I can’t wait to touch you again”.

When the relationship was discovered, Jackson, 40, who lives in Swindon, twice attempted suicide.

The couple had spent hours together at the house she shared with her children, aged 16, 14 and ten.

A court heard they kissed in Jackson’s bedroom, living room and a caravan in her garden.

The teenager had been friends with Jackson’s 14-year-old daughter, but it was only after she got a job at the boy’s school in Dorset that they started “falling in love” in May this year.

The relationship came to light when the boy discussed it with a counsellor, saying he and Jackson were in love and planned to buy a flat together.

Despite the intensity of the affair, she and the boy – who has an academic age of nine and cannot be named for legal reasons – did not have sex.

At Bournemouth Crown Court, she admitted breaching a position of trust by engaging in sexual activity.

Tom Garnham, prosecuting, said: “This year the relationship with the boy changed to being a loving relationship and she fell in love with him.

“She said he was romantic, affectionate and would tell her that he loved her. She said their first kiss was the best she had ever had and it made her feel like she was 15 again.

“She said that lying next to each other was a daily occurrence. She said they had not had sex but had thought about it.”

The boy suffers from a disorder which causes him to become obsessive in relationships. But the court heard Jackson also became possessive towards him.

On one occasion they fell out during a birthday party for Jackson’s 16-year-old son after she became jealous of him showing attention to a girl his own age.

Mr Garnham said: “When he went away on holiday he started receiving text messages from her, one of which said, ‘I can’t wait to touch you again.’

“The boy spoke to a counsellor and confessed his love for her and said that she loved him and they were planning to buy a flat.”

But Robert Grey, defending, said Jackson had become “emotionally carried away” and was deeply ashamed of her actions.

Sentencing her to four months in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Roger Jarvis said: “When children are at school they must be safe from those charged with their education, especially when the child is vulnerable.

“Where there has been a breach of trust, the court is bound to take it very seriously.”

Jackson was put on the sex offenders’ register for seven years and banned from working with children over the age of ten.