July 2021

Former teacher who had sex with schoolgirl ‘vulnerable’ in jail

A former teacher has been jailed for a series of sex offences against a teenager.

Christopher Sheard, who worked as an art teacher at Newbold Green Secondary School, took advantage of a 14-year-old girl who had become “infatuated” with him in the 1970s.

A hearing at Derby Crown Court, on Friday, July 2, was told that the now-74-year-old had used his position and the girl’s vulnerability to start begin a four-year-long relationship with her while she was at the school.

It was told that Sheard, who was married at the time, had sex with the girl at his home and in fields nearby on numerous occasions in the mid 70s.

He even took her on weekends away to the Lake District and London under the guise of them being educational excursions.

Sheard, of North Wingfield Road, Grassmoor, Chesterfield, pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16 the day before his trial was due to start last year.

A sentencing hearing was told that offences began when the vulnerable girl became besotted with the teacher in the 70s.

Siward James-Moore, prosecuting, said Sheard, who was nearly twice her age, took advantage of this and invited her to his house for coffee.

“She [the victim] recalled meeting the defendant after school,” he said.

“He showed her slides of his wife performing oral sex on him.”

Following this, the pair went on to have full intercourse and would do so on numerous occasions over the next two years.

The sexual activity continued until the victim was 18 at which point she decided to end the relationship.

She then had no contact with the defendant until 1995, when he contacted her to say he had found some of her artwork in his house.

The prosecutor said when he spoke to her he had said “hadn’t they been naughty when she was at school”.

Mr James-Moore said the victim later reported what had happened to the police in 2019 after media coverage of similar cases.

In her victim impact statement, parts of which were read out by Judge Shaun Smith, the woman said he had taken advantage of her.

“She said she felt too ashamed about what had happened to say,” he said.

“She felt angry about what had happened and she was afraid to tell anybody

“The memories of what happened started to return. She feels as though he took advantage of her situation.”

Mr Richard Gibbs, mitigating, told the court he had taught thousands of students throughout his career and had enriched their lives.

He added that through letters to the judge and the victim, Sheard had acknowledged what he had done.

“There’s nothing I can realistically say that could diminish or try to diminish the seriousness of what he did,” Mr Gibbs said.

“That relationship was wrong on every level. There’s perhaps a small mercy to be taken that she does not appear to have suffered in the way that so many have in her position.

“He is somebody who in his advanced years would be vulnerable in custody.

“It’s caused those he loves great pain, he will have to live with that for the rest of his life.”

He was jailed for 20 months by Judge Smith, who said there was little alternative but to put him behind bars