A schoolboy sent a naked picture of his married teacher to friends ‘for a laugh’, a court has heard, fuelling rumours that she was sleeping with him, as the school’s head claimed the pupil was ‘upset and shaking’ when he revealed the alleged affair.
Kandice Barber, 35, is accused of meeting up for sex with the boy, who was 15 at the time, on three occasions in late 2018 in a field, in woodland and in her four-by-four car, as well as sending topless pictures of herself to him on Snapchat.
Aylesbury Crown Court heard that Barber was a cover supervisor at the school and was bound by the same rules as teaching staff to not contact students outside school without the head’s permission.
On day four of Barber’s trial today, a jury of seven women and five men at Aylesbury Crown Court heard testimonies from more of the boy’s friends and the headmaster of the school.
Kandice Barber, right, arrives at Aylesbury Crown Court, Buckinghamshire, left, where she is appearing accused of engaging in illegal sexual activity with a 15-year-old boy
Entering the witness box in court, Nicholas Simms, who was head teacher at the Princes Risborough secondary school in Buckingham, said the complainant had come to his office on March 11 for the second time.
The first had been on January 24 after Mr Simms heard from a teacher who had overheard a student speak of the rumours, though the court heard how the boy had denied the gossip at the time.
Mr Simms, who was sharply dressed, went on to read a letter he had received from Barber after the initial meeting, which read: ‘Dear Mr Simms, I am writing to confirm that the rumours are completely not true.
‘Being both married and having children in the school, this has been sickening and upsetting. The school means so much to me.’
The teen was then asked back to the office in March to write a statement denying the rumours, and spent two to four minutes on it before coming back to Mr Simms. ‘My friends told me to tell you the truth,’ he said upon his return.
A jury heard how the boy then alleged having sexual activity with Barber.
‘He was visibly upset, his hands were shaking and it took him a long time to explain himself,’ Mr Simms told the jury.
The headmaster said he took advice from the local area designated officer for safeguarding (LADO) to call the police, who arrested the defendant the following morning at the school on March 12.
Defence lawyer Nadia Chbat, cross-examining Mr Simms, said ‘You didn’t have any conversation with Miss Barber at all about the topic. The only conversation you had with her about this was on January 24.’
Prosecutors told a jury how Barber (above) suggested she might be pregnant with the boy’s child, which kept him quiet about the affair as he did not want his child to be born in prison
The jury heard excerpts from the school’s official guidelines for staff behaviour with students. It expressly said: ‘Staff should never seek to make contact with a student outside of school.’
A police interview of a close friend of the complainant was shown to the jury earlier this morning in which the boy said: ‘I am 100 per cent sure of one time it happened. They met up after but I’m not sure if they did it again after that,’ he said. He said it never happened at either of the alleged lovers’ houses.
‘He talked about her partly like she was a normal girl. Another part was it was kind of unusual because she was actually a teacher.
‘He felt a bit guilty because obviously she was married. She told him she thought she was pregnant. I’d say he felt a bit bad from the way he was talking about it.’
The boy said he had known the complainant since year four, and that he was ‘funny, very sporty, kind, mature.’
‘I told him ‘if it’s found out, he could get in trouble. If you feel felt bad you should probably leave anyway’.’
Later, in the cross examination with defending counsel Nadia Chbat, the boy said he had told his close friend that he should refrain from telling others. ‘That’s the way it’s going to come out, if you tell other people about it.
‘I think it stopped because he felt bad and people were finding out.. I don’t know how it spread this much,’ the first witness said.
The court heard that one of the complainant’s friends had shown a photograph of the defendant to his older brother, who had shared it with his own pals from the school. ‘I thought it would be a bit of a laugh’, the witness, who was anonymous for legal reasons, said.
One of the friends had been hired as staff at the same school, and reported the photo to Mr Simms who initiated the March investigation.
Ms Chbat has said to several of the boy witnesses: ‘You never saw the complainant with Miss Barber outside of school. You never saw him having sex with her. You never witnessed him kissing Miss Barber. It’s all what he told you.’
Prosecutor Richard Milne read out a statement from another school friend of the complainant, a girl who sat in front of him and his friend in English class, which said: ‘They were talking. I wanted to know what they were talking about. He said he couldn’t say as it was bad and he would get in trouble.
Pictured is Princes Risborough School in Buckinghamshire where Barber was teaching
‘I remember him saying to me ‘I could get banned from school’. I don’t know why I felt that I was jumping to a conclusion but I said to him, ‘did you sleep with a teacher?’ He didn’t respond but he started to show his friend something on his phone.
‘I asked to look and I was shocked at what I saw. He was showing a video on his phone of a female I could not see her face but I could see she had no clothes on. There were lots of rumours flying around the school at that time about Miss Barber.’
Mr Simms said the boy told him he lied about the affair in January 2019 because Barber had told him she was pregnant with his child.
It was alleged the boy hacked into his teacher’s Snapchat account and circulated photos of Barber
Describing the boy’s demeanour, Mr Simms said: ‘He was upset and shaking, he wasn’t crying but his hands were shaking. He took a long time to explain himself.’
Mr Simms said he contacted police after speaking to more students and Barber was arrested on March 12.
The court previously heard the boy had changed Barber’s name on Snapchat to ‘Charles’ and took screenshots of some of the conversations as evidence of the affair.
Giving evidence by videolink, he said Barber threatened him that if he told anyone about the affair she ‘was going to bring me down with her’.
He denied being ‘obsessed’ with Barber when questioned by defence barrister Nadia Chbat, who had asked him if he sent a message to her saying: ‘If you don’t speak to me watch what happens, you will lose your job and your family.’
He replied in court: ‘No, I never said that.’
Barber, of Wendover, denies three counts of causing or inciting a child aged under 16 to engage in a sexual act, one count of sexual communication with a child, one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activities while in a position of trust, and one count of causing a child to watch a sexual act by a person in a position of trust.
Explaining the position of trust charges on the first day of the trial, Mr Milne had said: ‘In this jurisdiction, England and Wales, teachers are not permitted to have sexual relations with pupils and it is not to do with the age of consent, it is because they are in a position of trust, be they male or female.
‘The law does not permit, indeed criminalises, any sexual activity between a teacher and a child under the age of 18 years, even if they were consensual relations.’
The trial continues on Monday.