Teacher's suspended sentence after relationship with pupil, 15

Monday 29 October 2012 Updated: 31/10 11:29

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Buy photos » Brian Knowles. Picture courtesy of Caters.

THE former deputy head teacher of Barr's Hill School has been sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, after admitting an improper relationship with a pupil.

Brian Knowles - described as a highly experienced and respected teacher - was arrested after his relationship with the 15-year-old girl was reported by her friend to another teacher.

The 57-year-old took the girl out, bought her gifts and exchanged hundreds of 'affectionate and intimate' text messages, Warwick Crown Court heard.

The court also heard Knowles, who pleaded guilty to four counts of child abduction, was in charge of child protection at the school at the time he struck up the relationship.

Elizabeth Jack, senior crown prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said Knowles crossed the line when it came to trust parents and pupils place in teachers.

"As his school’s child protection lead, Mr Knowles was fully aware by taking the victim out on shopping trips and to restaurants without the permission or knowledge of her parents, his actions contravened the law," she added.

"He would have also been aware buying her gifts and using her mobile telephone number to send her text messages of an affectionate and intimate nature was totally inappropriate.

"Parents and students should be able to trust in teachers and rely on them not to develop inappropriate relationships with children.

"If they cross this line, then the consequences can be very serious for all those involved."

In a statement, Coventry City Council, which is repsonsible for most of the city's schools. said: "The council and the school take child protection matters very seriously and once the allegations came to light, everyone involved in this case acted speedily and appropriately.

"It's been a difficult time for everyone but the school can now look forward to the future and begin to move on."

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