14th February, 2022 10:34 am
A teaching assistant at a Hertfordshire school had sex with a 14-year-old pupil in a car before tricking his parents into believing he was seeing a teenage girl by pretending to be her mother.
Hannah Harris, 23, had sex with the schoolboy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in a supermarket car park after contacting his parents claiming her name was Olivia.
She told them she lived in Baldock, Hertfordshire, with her fictional daughter Kayla, whom she claimed was their son’s girlfriend.
In one text to the boy’s parents, Harris wrote: ‘Seems Kayla and (the boy) are getting on well, so I am happy to ferry them around.’
She was convicted of a single count of engaging in sexual activity with a child by a majority verdict at St Albans Crown Court today.
The jury cleared her of a further three counts of the same offence.
Simon Wiltshire, prosecuting, told the court: ‘Both parents believed they had spoken to Olivia on the phone and his mum had exchanged texts.
‘The names Kayla and Olivia were fictions to hide the fact they were meeting up.
‘The parents were in fact talking to Ms Harris as that was the number they had been given for Olivia.’
Harris was caught out in January 2020 when the boy’s older brother found out, before he admitted to his sibling that both ‘Olivia’ and ‘Kayla’ were fictional.
Mr Wiltshire continued: ‘When the parents became aware, they realised they had unwittingly facilitated the contact. They had been duped by the boy into the belief he was seeing someone of his own age.’
The prosecutor added: ‘As a teaching assistant at his school she (Harris) would have known his age – such activity is a criminal offence regardless of whether he believed himself to be a willing party.’
She was first employed in 2018 in the IT department at the school and moved to a teaching assistant role in 2019.
When questioned by police, she said the first contact was initiated when he sent her an Instagram message.
She said she stupidly replied and communication continued until she agreed to meet him outside school hours.
Harris, of Henlow, Bedfordshire, denied four counts of sexual activity that were alleged to have taken place twice on Dunstable Downs and once at her home between December 2019 and January 2020.
A jury convicted her of one of the counts by a majority of 10 to two today.
Following the verdict, defence barrister Julia Flanagan said Harris was now in a stable relationship.
She said there had been concerns for her mental health, but she had returned to working in IT.
Judge Caroline Wigin bailed Harris, who cried in the dock, for sentencing on March 9. She must abide by a curfew between 7pm and 7am.
The judge said she will also have to register as a sex offender and told her: ‘The sentence is inevitably going to be custody.’
Categorised in: News