Teacher who had lesbian affair with pupil jailed for 15 months

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The Independent Online

A public school teacher who had a lesbian affair with a 15-year-old pupil was yesterday jailed for 15 months.

Music teacher Helen Goddard – nicknamed "the jazz lady" – befriended the youngster after lessons. Their relationship eventually became sexual, which was condemned by the youngster's parents as a "complete betrayal" of trust.

London's Southwark Crown Court heard that the five-month affair included an overnight stay at Goddard's home and a romantic weekend in Paris. The pair were in love, the trial was told.

Their trysts remained a secret until the school, which cannot be named for legal reasons, received an anonymous tip-off about what was happening. Care workers were immediately contacted and police alerted.

Goddard, 26, from Greenwich, south-east London, admitted six sample counts of sexual activity with the girl between February and July this year.

Sentencing her, Judge Anthony Pitts said: "[The girl] has made it clear that the sexual contact between you was consensual and she says in her statement it was instigated by her. It is against the law to engage in sexual activity with a person under 16, even with her consent. The aggravating feature evident here is that you were her music teacher throughout this period."

That meant a relationship such as theirs remained illegal until after the girl turned 18.