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School lab technician jailed for drugging pupil

Tuesday 24 August 2010 12:53 BST

A school lab technician who knocked a teenage pupil unconscious by tricking her into wearing a dust mask doused in chloroform was jailed for two-and-a-half years today.

Jared Shreeve, 41, lured Sayeda Rahman, 17, into the school's laboratory storeroom under the guise of helping her gain experience working with chemicals.

Claiming there were dangerous fumes in the room, he forced her to wear a mask soaked in the potentially lethal anaesthetic chloroform, which made her pass out, Snaresbrook Crown Court in London heard.

The student suffered a chemical burn on her face and needed emergency treatment at hospital after the incident at Seven Kings High School in Ilford, Essex, on July 2 2008.

A jury unanimously found Shreeve guilty last month of administering a poison with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy.

Passing sentence today, Judge William Kennedy told him: "This was a truly appalling, senseless and unfathomable risk to take with the life and hope of a young woman ...

"The good fortune is that this deadly chemical did not do its worst."

The judge rejected Shreeve's defence that he did not know the chemical properties or effects of chloroform before July 2008.

He said: "You impressed all those with whom you worked with the depth and breadth of your knowledge.

"You were upon the evidence an accomplished and confident senior lab technician, and apparently confident in your own ability."

Ms Rahman was described as a "bright and able" sixth form student who was studying A-levels in chemistry and three other subjects.

She asked to be allowed to help Shreeve, the school's senior lab technician, so she could learn about handling chemicals, the court heard.

After lunchtime on July 2 2008 Shreeve invited her into the storeroom to help him with stocktaking.

Claiming there were "very dangerous" chemical vapours in the room, he made her wear the dust mask, which he doused with liquid from a bottle marked "neutraliser".

She felt faint and dizzy as soon as she donned the mask and took it off, but Shreeve told her to put it back on.

Ms Rahman collapsed and, being found to have a "dangerously low" pulse rate, was taken to hospital for treatment. She later made a full recovery.

The bottle was found to contain chloroform at a "commercial strength", the court heard.

James Bloomer, mitigating, said the lab technician's actions were an "awful aberration" which had cost him his future in teaching.

He said: "Jared Shreeve has lost a very great deal by his dangerous and stupid behaviour that day."

Bearded Shreeve, of South Street, Romford, Essex, showed no reaction as he was jailed for 30 months, less the 45 days he has spent in custody.

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