January 2023

Pervert teacher groomed schoolgirl for sex

The schoolgirl victim of a sex offender teacher from Leicester has revealed how he stole her innocence in a heartbreaking statement describing the impact of his crimes.

Ian Featherstone groomed the teenager for sex while working at a private boarding school, a court heard.

She was a pupil at Abbotsholme School, near Ashbourne, in the Derbyshire Dales, when the 44-year-old groomed the girl for sex

Starting with text messages, the exchanges turned to sexualised chat before escalating further to sharing intimate photographs and eventually sex.

Featherstone pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust when he appeared before a judge at Derby Crown Court.

He was a married father-of-two when the offences took place, but has since lost his job and is now living with his parents in Pulford Drive, Bushby

The teenager revealed to the court how the sexual abuse she suffered at Featherstone’s hands had affected her life. “I didn’t realise what was happening, what he was doing, until someone told me that what he did was not normal,” she said.

“It felt right because I finally thought I had found someone who wanted me. However, this never explained why I felt on edge and scared around him.

“I tried ignoring the sexual comments he made, but he always said more. This increased my fear, and I was always questioning if I could trust him. However, I did trust him, and that cost me everything.”

The court heard how the Featherstone told the girl not to save his contact details. Instead, she had them on a piece of paper she kept with her phone, so his wife of 14 years did not find out about the relationship. He would also only communicate with her on a social media platform to avoid detection.

“I lost my innocence,” added the girl. “I never understood this concept until he did what he did. I have had to grieve that I have lost what it meant to be a teenager. I have had to leave school behind as the weight of pain was too heavy for me to carry on anyone.

“I was always crying, breaking down and having to get picked up every day from school. He pushed my mental health to the limits. This completely destroyed me.

“I self-harmed to cope and even wrote suicide notes. I didn’t want to carry on anymore. The guilt, pain, sadness, and the constant abuse became too much.”

The girl turned to Featherstone during the hearing and addressed him directly. “No amount of tears could explain the pain,” she told him. “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my confidence, and my own voice.

“You have no idea how worthless you made me feel. Always being too scared to say no, or not to do as you wanted. This always scared me.” She added: “I knew in the end you would always have your way, no matter if I said no. This lives with me, it will never leave.”

Featherstone was sentenced to 12 months in prison, but suspended for two years. An electronically monitored curfew will confine him to his home address between 7pm and 5am.

The defendant was ordered to attend a 45-day sex offender awareness programme, as well as 55 rehabilitation sessions with the probation service.

He must also complete 200 hours of unpaid work and was placed on the sex offenders register for a period of 10 years.