Page last updated at 14:38 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Child sex text teacher is jailed

Lynn Walls
Lynn Walls had encouraged her young victim to commit sex acts

A former primary school teacher who sent sexually explicit text messages to a 14-year-old boy has been jailed for 12 months.

Lynn Walls, 42, of Sunderland, met the boy online through the computer game, Warcraft, but never met him in person, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

She pleaded guilty to inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, during a two week period in November 2007.

Judge Richard Lowden said on Friday her actions were "wicked and damaging".

The teacher was due to be sentenced last month but the hearing was adjourned because Walls had failed to attend a probation appointment with probation officers, saying she was too ashamed to leave her home.

Suicidal thoughts

The court heard, on Friday, that she had caused lasting damage, and her young victim had become withdrawn, felt guilty and had even had suicidal thoughts.

They first made contact on the World of Warcraft internet game after the defendant invented a "thin, attractive and blonde" character.

After chatting on-line, they swapped mobile phone numbers, the court heard.

Crucially, the London teenager told Walls his age, said Penny Moreland, prosecuting.

Walls, of Rose Street, Penshaw, sent texts inviting the boy to have sex with her, and commit sex acts.

Miss Moreland said: "It goes without saying the language and expressions used were not those that I have used, they were crude and explicit in the extreme."

'Emotional burden'

In other texts, Walls confided childhood problems, falsely claimed to have breast cancer, and confessed she loved the boy.

In a victim impact statement, the boy's mother said it had changed her son and left him feeling suicidal and he had become abusive.

Nick Peacock, defending, said his client accepted full responsibility.

Walls spent hours playing World of Warcraft, described in court as highly addictive, in which players create virtual characters.

Mr Peacock said the case had "destroyed her days and haunted her nights" since her arrest.

Judge Lowden banned her from working with children for life, and put her on the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.

He said: "It is not just the grossly inappropriate sexual conduct of the message that has done the damage, but to my mind, more damaging was the emotional burden that you put upon that boy, so that in the end he felt responsible for you."

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