Former East Lancashire science teacher had sex with pupil

Blackburn Citizen: Gareth David Aspey Gareth David Aspey

A FORMER science teacher has confessed to three charges of having sex with a female student at a girls’ school.

Gareth David Aspey, 29, of Alkincoats Road, Colne admitted offences of sexual activity, involving a 17-year-old girl who attended Skipton Girls’ High School, while in a position of trust, between December 2012 and July 2013.

Aspey entered guilty pleas during a brief hearing at Bradford Crown Court yesterday and was bailed for pre-sentence reports by Judge Neil Davey QC.

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School bosses confirmed Aspey was immediately suspended, when the affair came to light, and later sacked.

In court, defence counsel Clare Ashcroft said her client had now lost his good character and his teaching career was in tatters.

Miss Ashcroft asked for Aspey's sentence hearing to be adjourned for eight weeks for a full assessment of her client to take place.

She indicated that he had previously been diagnosed with cancer and had suffered from mental health difficulties.

Judge Davey agreed and remanded Aspey on bail until May 7 so a report could provide accurate and up-to-date information about his personal circumstances.

The judge warned Aspey not to draw any conclusions from the fact that he was adjourning sentence for the report or renewing his conditional bail.

The judge told Aspey: “You must understand, as I gather from your counsel Miss Ashcroft you do, that all sentencing options, including one of imprisonment, remain open.”

Aspey had previously appeared before Skipton magistrates on the charges, and they heard the teacher had worked at the school since September 2008, but resigned last year.

His bail conditions prevent him from contacting the victim in the case, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

He is also prohibited from contacting any current or former pupils of the school who are under 18, entering the school or having unsupervised contact with any female under 18.

A Skipton Girls’ High School spokesman said: “The safety and welfare of students is an absolute priority for Skipton Girls’ High School.

“When the school became aware of this situation North Yorkshire Police and the local authority’s safeguarding team were immediately involved.

“Working to their guidance the situation was dealt with promptly, following the proper and legal safeguarding procedures.

“The member of staff was suspended with immediate effect and his employment subsequently terminated.”

The 128-year-old girls’ grammar school became a specialist engineering college in 2003 and takes in a number of female students from the Burnley and Pendle areas.

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