Teacher jailed for four years

A SCHOOL music teacher has been jailed for four years after a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old GCSE student in Pocklington, who wept in court and admits she “still loves” him.

Head of music Craig Parkin, 26, started an email, Skype and Facebook affair with a talented young girl, telling others he thought girls of 14 could have loving and lasting relationships with older men.

He embarked on an 18-month affair at Woldgate College, taking her to his house and country drives. He admitted he knew what he was doing was wrong, having twice attending school courses where he was told sexual activity with a girl under 16 is a criminal offence. He was even warned by her mother.

The girl told police: “We knew the risks, but at the time of the relationship it was the last thing we thought of. We were too in love to think.”

Jailing Parkin at Hull Crown Court, Mr Justice Coulson said: “There were a large number of aggravating features. This was a gross breach of trust, there is the disparity of age and the length of time the relationship lasted.

“The girl has made it quite clear she is still in love with you and will continue to wait for you. However, a pre-sentence report suggests that you thought children under 14 can have loving and understanding relationships. That does not show insight in to what you have done.”

The girl wept in court as graphic details of their forbidden affair were made public. Parkin looked in a state of shock as the judge gave a sentence of four years, and his family burst into tears.

Hull Crown Court heard the relationship started after he messaged the girl on the school internet about her course work. They began talking at first in a “normal relationship” and swapped Facebook addresses.

Secretly they began Skype chats and then meeting after school, where they would go for drives in his car. The first date was in Pocklington after she had been to a meeting, and they met by chance. They spoke, hugged and kissed each other.

Crown barrister Richard Woolfall said: “For him it moved very quickly. He told her that he loved her. He was the first to say it. She did not say it straight back, but did so two days later.”

He said the first sexual contact was when she was 14 in his car. As the weeks went on they visited Burnby Hall Gardens in Pocklington together.

“He said as the relationship began to progress they became boyfriend and girlfriend together. They were happy with the relationship. He said he would not hurt her in any way. He was letting his heart rule his head. He said in interview when he first had sex with her, both accepted it was a natural progression. She said she was not forced to do anything she did not want to do.”

Parkin, of Wakefield, appeared close to tears in the dock at Hull Crown Court after earlier pleading guilty to five counts of sexual activity with a girl under 15, which included intercourse.

His girlfriend was sat in the public gallery and wept openly. The court heard the girl’s mother became concerned about the close relationship between pupil and child and challenged him about it. He apologised and promised it would not happen again.

Parkin pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual activity with a girl aged under 17 while in a position of trust. The offences came to light after a friend of the girl saw them exchange a message and gossip spread at school.

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Mr Parkin, who was accompanied to court by his family, made significant admissions to police when they interviewed him.

Mr Woolfall said: “He accepted fully that what he did was wrong. The pupil made far less admissions. The girl is fully on side with Mr Parkin and hopes one day to have a relationship with him. In her victim impact statement she says she still loves him.

“She feels very upset to have him taken away from her. They both knew the risks when it started. She has not changed her feelings. She is still in love with him and will wait for him.”

“In her mother’s victim statement she says she was impressed with his work and concern for his students.

“She is upset that his talent is to be withdrawn from other students. Mother and daughter have spoken at length about it. She takes the view she does not view her daughter as a victim. She says she is disappointed with the defendant having crossed the line, but does not take the view that he was threatening to her or hurt her.”

Defence barrister Guy Wyatt said: “This is a man who has allowed his passions to get the better of him. He was in a situation of trust and he abused that trust, but there were many people in the community who want to support him.”

Mr Justice Coulson jailed Parkin for four years making him the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning him from working with children. He also ordered he should sign on the National Sex Offences Register for life.