Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Teacher jailed over pupil affair

Stonyhurst College
Dr Bell was found with his shirt unbuttoned and the girl on his lap

The head of English at a top Roman Catholic school in Lancashire has been jailed after he admitted having a seven-month relationship with a pupil.

Dr Terence Bell, 46, was jailed for 20 weeks after the 17-year-old was found sitting astride him in a classroom at £22,000-a-year Stonyhurst College.

He later told police: "The game's up isn't it? Love is a powerful thing," Blackburn Magistrates' Court was told.

Bell admitted visiting the girl in the school holidays and buying her a phone.

Jailing the married-father-of three, District Judge Peter Ward said: "One has to consider the expectation of parents when sending their children to school, that they will not be taken advantage of."

There had been kissing and cuddling and he had fondled her
Philippa White, prosecuting

He was charged with one count of being in a position of trust and intentionally causing or inciting a girl of 17 to engage in sexual activity.

The court heard Bell was caught by another pupil last month, who saw a light on in a classroom and found the pair.

Philippa White, prosecuting, said: "His shirt was unbuttoned half way down and he was not wearing his usual spectacles.

"The female student removed herself and walked away towards the corner of the classroom.

"There had been kissing and cuddling and he had fondled her."

Admissions policy

Bell resigned from Stockport Grammar School, Greater Manchester, in 1993, after he wrote to a fifth-year pupil "expressing his feelings of love".

He joined Stonyhurst College when its admissions policy only allowed male pupils. It went co-educational in 1996.

He was forced to sign the sex offenders register for seven years and banned from working with children.

Simon Farnsworth, defending, said: "This has cost him to lose his home, family, job and career forever."

Bell, whose address was given as the Isle of Wight, told the court he was estranged from his wife and homeless.

A spokesman for Stonyhurst said: "Following the sentencing of former employee Dr Terry Bell, Stonyhurst has now referred the matter to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA)."

The ISA was set up to prevent unsuitable people working with children and vulnerable adults.



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