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Female Teacher jailed for sex with boy

The Guardian, UK, Martin Wainwright, Tuesday August 16, 2005

A married primary schoolteacher was jailed for 15 months yesterday after admitting having sex with an underage teenage boy.

Hannah Grice, 32, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of indecent assault on the boy, who was aged 14 and 15 at the time of the offences.

Sentencing her at Stafford crown court, Judge John Shand told Grice, from Cannock, Staffordshire, she had abused her position of trust.

"Cases such as this are, of course, made worse by the fact that you were a member of the teaching profession," he told her. "You should have been very sensitive indeed to child welfare issues." Grice was also ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Her family said she had been a victim of "schoolboy fantasies". Grice's husband, Mike, a 34-year-old IT consultant, said: "I stood at the altar with my wife and said, 'In sickness and in health and for better or for worse.' I will stand by those vows I took."

The teacher's father, Trevor Pyke, 61, who works for the RAF, also attacked the decision to prosecute: "In my eyes, she's innocent. She's just an ordinary person who's been caught up in such circumstances that's escalated.

The hearing was told that the pair progressed from hugging and kissing to full sex and kept in touch via text messages and email.

After suspicions grew in Etchington, where Grice taught, the relationship became public last year and she was arrested. She initially denied having sex with the boy, who cannot be named because of his age, but then pleaded guilty and resigned her teaching post.

Stephen Bayley, defending, asked for a suspended sentence and told the court that Grice had been under pressure from illness and was determined to make amends.

The boy's mother said after the hearing: "Prison's the best place for her. She was actively pursuing my son. This was the biggest breach of trust imaginable."

Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005