Assistant jailed for sex acts with pupils

Published: 4 Dec 2012 07:00

A DISGRACED teaching assistant has been jailed for grooming five boys and enticing them to perform sexual acts.

Jailed: Teaching assistant Emma Webb.

Emma Webb hung her head in shame as she was sentenced to 32 months in jail at Reading Crown Court on Monday.

The court heard how Webb, a married mother of two, seduced victims aged between 15-17 while they were studying for their GCSEs at a Berkshire school between July 2009 and May this year.

Webb, 42, of Kingfisher Drive, flirted with them in class, bombarded them with inappropriate text and Facebook messages and invited them to her house to walk her dogs in a bid to get close to them.

The court heard how she had sex or carried out a number of sexual acts with them.

At an earlier hearing she pleaded guilty to 16 counts of abuse of trust under the Sexual Offences Act with 14 more being added to the charge at the court hearing on Monday.

Prosecutor Simon Heptonstall said: "With five complainants over a period of years this isn't a flash in the pan or an infatuation. It's something that strongly implies an intended attraction to boys of that age."

He added: "There is a pattern that is present, with developing initial contact and then grooming with dog walking and getting close."

Webb was suspended from her position at the school in May after a member of staff intercepted a message from one of the victims.

Defence counsel Jennifer Edwards, mitigating, said most of the offences were carried out after the boys turned 16 and many had "joking conversations" about what was happening.

She also claimed Webb was upset over the murder of her brother years earlier, and added: "The effect on her and her family has been extreme. She is going to live with the guilt of this for a very long time."

Judge John Reddihough sentenced Webb to 32 months in jail, minus the 168 days she has already served while in custody. She was also banned for life from working with children and young people under the age of 18.

He said: "You were expected to support and assist the five boys concerned and you were a mentor to at least two of them, but you deliberately groomed them for sexual purposes."

He said there was a risk the boys would have a "distorted view" of women and sex and added: "You put your own gratification and thrill-seeking behaviour above their interests."

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