Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Teacher cleared of having sex with special needs pupil

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Teacher Teresa McKenzie thanked the jury after being cleared of having a sexual relationship with a special needs pupil.

A teacher cleared of having sex with a pupil at a Cheshire special school said she knew she was exposing herself to the risk of a false accusation.

Teresa McKenzie, 39, of Meifod, near Welshpool, Powys, said she had been dealing with a "deeply disturbed and suicidal teenager" who demanded care.

She had faced seven charges of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.

But a jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict after less than an hour.

Mrs McKenzie was accused of having a 14-month affair with the boy from London, starting when he was 16.

Mrs McKenzie, a married mother-of-two, formerly of Tarporley, Cheshire, was in tears as the jury at Chester Crown Court returned its verdicts.

I knew that I was exposing myself to the risk of false accusation. I persevered because I was able to distract him from taking his own life
Teresa McKenzie

In a statement after the hearing, she said: "I am extremely grateful to the jury for seeing the truth of the situation I was in.

"I was dealing with a deeply disturbed and suicidal teenager who demanded exceptional care and support, I gave him the attention he deserved in his desperate predicament.

"I knew that I was exposing myself to the risk of false accusation. I persevered because I was able to distract him from taking his own life.

'Horrified'

"This case demonstrates the risk that dedicated and committed teachers are prepared to take every day."

During the trial, the court heard how the boy had become infatuated with Mrs McKenzie and would follow her around "like a lost dog".

She joined the special school in February 2006 and became his "key worker".

The court heard how the boy had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, emotionally disturbed behaviour and oppositional defiant disorder.

It was alleged she had sex with the boy four times in the toilets of the British Library.

She was accused of also having sex with the boy in her car at Runcorn train station, at his home and in a London hotel.

The court also heard how she was accused of sending him love notes.

During his cross-examination, the boy spoke of his "love" for his teacher and how they had become "an item".

But Mrs McKenzie told the trial she was "horrified" and "speechless" when she heard of the allegations.

She said that she had been in very close contact with the boy's mother about his problems and development at the school and that they had a good relationship.

Mrs McKenzie had told the jury she had never behaved in an inappropriate manner with the boy and was always dressed conservatively.



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IC Cheshire Cheshire teacher accused of having sex with a pupil is cleared of all charges - 4 hrs ago
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