Page last updated at 16:01 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 17:01 UK

Teacher jailed for sex with pupil

A private school teacher who admitted having an unlawful relationship with a 15-year-old pupil has been jailed for 15 months at Southwark Crown Court.

Helen Goddard, 26, taught music at a prestigious central London school before her arrest in July.

Goddard, of Thornham Street, Greenwich, south-east London, pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual activity with a female child under 16.

She has also been ordered to sign the sex offenders register.

Goddard, who was known as the "jazz lady", became close to the youngster as they met over coffee after classes but was "pressured" into the relationship by the pupil, the court was told.

Their relationship became sexual and during their five-month affair the two spent a weekend in Paris, during which they attended the Gay Pride March, and nights at Goddard's home.

Under the guise of helping her we now understand that for over five months she was betraying our trust and our daughter's
Statement from girl's parents

An impact statement from the girl's parents said the teacher went "out of her way" to befriend them and their "vulnerable" daughter.

"However, under the guise of helping her we now understand that for over five months she was betraying our trust and our daughter's," they said.

"She did not stay true to her professional responsibility."

They felt "particularly betrayed" by the weekend in Paris, and added: "We are deeply upset by the impact on our daughter by Ms Goddard's actions, which has serious and enduring consequences."

Sentencing Goddard, Judge Anthony Pitts said: "This is a difficult case. The evidence showed you were having a full-on sexual relationship with the girl for many months.

"She has made it clear that the sexual contact between you was consensual and she says in her statement that in fact it was instigated by her.

"It is, of course, against the law to engage in sexual activity with a person under 16, even with her consent."

'Draconian' order

He said the "particularly aggravating feature" of the case was that Goddard continued to teach the girl music throughout their affair.

The judge added: "The relationship involved a fair degree of deception not only in respect of the school but also to the girl's parents."

The school was made aware of the affair through an anonymous e-mail tip-off, the court heard.

The judge, who was told the girl and the teacher were genuinely in love, did not uphold the prosecution's request for a sexual offences prevention order as it would be "draconian and unnecessarily cruel" to the girl as well.

Goddard admitted six sample counts of sexual activity with the girl between February and July this year.

Goddard, a child prodigy, was one of five young musicians from England invited to play at the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony in 2000.

Anthony Heaton-Armstrong, defending, said Goddard was "very remorseful" and stressed she was "not in any sense a sexual predator".

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