Sean Aldridge allegedly targeted four teenage girls, forming relationships with them using a ‘secret phone’ which he hid from his partner
An assistant head teacher faces jail for grooming female pupils and having sex with them in his PE office and washroom – even telling one of them during intercourse ‘I could go to prison for this’.
PE teacher Sean Aldridge targeted four teenage girls, forming relationships with them and using a ‘secret phone’ he hid from his partner.
He even had a pregnancy scare with one of the victims who told the court she had a miscarriage in Year 11.
Despite rumours of the abuse being reported once to the school, and twice to police, he was repeatedly cleared by investigations and Warblington School even promoted him to head of safeguarding after the allegations were made.
The highly-rated 37-year-old was described as a ‘fantastic’ teacher and a ‘shining light’ at the secondary school near Havant, Hants.
But after a three-week trial, Aldridge, from Southsea, Hants, was found guilty of 24 counts of of sexual activity with a child, and one charge of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
His grooming began in 2007 after he gave a 15 year old pupil, who cannot be named for legal reasons, his mobile number because she was having ‘problems at home’.
Prosecutor Robert Bryan told the court: ‘They bumped into each other during the summer holidays while he was out with his pregnant partner.
Aldridge, of Southsea, was arrested and charged after an investigation led by detectives from Operation Marmion
‘Aldridge texted her later that day saying ‘you looked nice’.
‘They continued to text each other throughout the summer, as Aldridge would send texts that the victim described as ‘sweet nothings’.
‘When they returned to school in September, they turned sexual.
‘She would stay late after school so they were alone, and they shared a kiss in the PE office.
‘Their encounters become more sexual before they had sexual intercourse for the first time.
‘The victim said her first sexual encounter was ruined because he kept repeating ‘I could go to prison for this’.
‘They continued to meet for sex almost every day ‘at any opportunity’, including after her prom at the end of year 11.’
She said she had a miscarriage when aged 16, in Year 11, that it had been Aldridge’s child and he had described it as ‘our baby’.
Mr Bryan explained that once Aldridge’s first victim left the school, he became close to a girl two years below her, when she was aged 15, and began texting her inappropriately.
They also engaged in a sexual relationship, having sex in his PE office and he would drive her to nearby woodland where they had sex in his car, which had blacked out windows.
He later engaged in relationships with two more girls at the school, having sexual relationships with them both when they were aged just 14.
The court heard he had been reported to the school on one occasion and to police on two occasions after three of the victims told school friends about sexual encounters with Aldridge.
Each of the investigations failed to find evidence of the relationships, as he would allegedly delete all text messages and tell the girls to lie for him as it would ‘ruin his child’s life’.
The 37-year-old taught at Warblington School, a secondary near Havant in Hampshire, when the alleged sexual abuse happened between 2007 and 2012
After the investigations, Warblington School even promoted him to assistant headteacher and head of safeguarding.
The court heard that the first two victims came forward to police in 2017 after they bumped into each other at a supermarket.
When one of girls mentioned Aldridge was now an assistant headteacher they compared notes and it transpired they both claimed he had sexually abused them.
In 2017 the first victim bumped into another former pupil at a local supermarket.
She said: ‘We were catching up and saw some kids wearing the Warblington uniform – just seeing the uniform made me nervous.
‘We started talking about the school and the girl said to me ‘have you spoken to Sean?’
‘People who were close to him would call him Sean, and I said ‘no, have you?’
‘She said they had spoken the day before, and she kept saying to me ‘he was a bit weird wasn’t he’. Her face went pale like a ghost.
‘We gave each other a look – we both knew. She told me he used to pick her up at the road opposite the school and take her home and that he had two phones.
‘I said he did exactly the same for me. I felt guilty. If I had said something it might have stopped this from happening to her.
‘I never thought I’d say anything to anyone because there was no reason to, but when I heard that I thought ‘you absolutely vile man, how could you do that?”
A spokeswoman at Hampshire County Council today said: ‘This individual abused his position of trust, deceiving colleagues and the school community in the process.
‘The jury’s verdict has meant that justice has been served and we hope that this will bring some comfort to the victims who were very brave in coming forward and giving evidence, as well as their families.
‘This outcome acts as a stark reminder that it is not acceptable to take advantage, in any way, of children and young people. All allegations of abuse should be taken seriously.
‘We strongly urge anyone to contact their local authority or the police if they have any concerns about a young person being a potential victim of abuse.’
A Hampshire police spokesman added: ‘We can confirm that police previously received two allegations from a third party relating to two of the girls.
‘As part of enquiries, police spoke with both of these girls at the time – the first in 2010 and the second in 2012.
‘Neither of the girls disclosed any criminal allegations to police.
‘On this basis, and due to there being no other evidence available to police at the time to pursue a prosecution, the investigation was closed.
‘Because of this, police did not have the power to make an arrest or seize the phones of anyone involved in this investigation.’
Aldridge will be sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court on Monday. He was granted unconditional bail but had to surrender his passport.
Jurors failed to reach verdicts on two counts of sexual activity with a child. A decision will be made on whether he will be re-tried on these on Monday.