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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Teacher jailed for sex text blitz
A 26-year-old primary school teacher has been jailed for four years after he bombarded a 12-year-old girl with text messages to get her to sleep with him.

Tony Ardener, from Orton Goldhay, sent more than 100 texts to the unnamed girl over Christmas and New Year in 2004, Peterborough Crown Court heard.

He denied two counts of inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Judge Nicholas Coleman said Ardener, from Peterborough, had pursued the girl for his own sexual gratification.

Ardener's defence had argued he was a fool, but not a paedophile and he had never seriously intended to turn the sexual fantasy of the texts into reality.

In my judgement it was clearly for your own sexual gratification
Judge Nicholas Coleman

The jury took just two hours to reach the unanimous guilty verdicts at Peterborough Crown Court after the trial in February.

Sentencing him on Friday, Judge Nicholas Coleman said, "I accept that you are essentially a person with a lot of good in him.

"I also accept the consequences to you, a person who set his heart on being a teacher, are devastating.

Sex offenders' register

"But she was a highly vulnerable young girl and you knew her well.

"You were trained in child protection but you encouraged the sexual discourse between you.

"In my judgement it was clearly for your own sexual gratification."

Ardener was sentenced to four years for the first count and three years for the second to be served concurrently.

He was also ordered to sign the sexual offenders' register.

Judge Coleman told him he would never work with children again.

Hugh Vass, defending him at his trial in February had told the court that Ardener was paying the price for "one week of madness".

"He is extremely immature for someone who has made it as a teacher. He has an inability to grasp reality and was unable to accept a caution that was offered to him."

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