Southport school employee jailed for sex with pupils
A woman who had sex with two 15-year-old pupils while working at a school on Merseyside has been jailed.
Hina Patel was employed to supervise disruptive pupils at Birkdale High School, Southport, but instead flirted with them, Liverpool Crown Court heard.
The 37-year-old pleaded guilty to two charges of abusing her position of trust by sexual misconduct.
Patel, of Sandilands Grove, Hightown, was jailed for 16 months for each count, to run concurrently.
Martin Decker, prosecuting, said Patel, a single mother of two, met the two boys in February and exchanged mobile phone numbers during one-to-one supervision.
Mr Decker said she began exchanging friendly text messages which progressed to content of a sexual nature within four days.
"After about a week she invited the boys to her house," he said.
Both boys attended her house at the same time. After one of them went to the toilet, Patel met him on the stairs and led him into her bedroom, the court heard.
"In his police interview the boy said she started touching him and kissing him and this led to sexual intercourse," Mr Decker said.
"The boy was asked how he felt about this and he replied that it felt 'weird'."
Patel left the second boy in her home while she went to work at her second job, behind the bar at Formby Hall Golf Club, but had sex with him when she returned later.
After he stayed the night, Patel gave the boy £5 to get a train home.
The incidents came to light after the boy told a friend, who was later arrested on suspicion of burgling Patel's home.
The arrested boy told Youth Justice officials about the relationship and Patel was subsequently arrested.
Patrick Williamson, defending, said his client felt "shame and remorse" for her actions.
He described her as a good mother and a hard worker who, after splitting up with her husband, was diagnosed with depression by her GP.
Judge John Rogers said he accepted the defence's argument that Patel's behaviour was "out of character".
"I have no hesitation whatsoever in coming to the conclusion that these offences were so serious only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified," he added.
As well as the custodial sentence, Patel was also made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
It bans her from working with children under the age of 16, being alone in the company of children under the age of 16 and bans her from using social networking sites to contact children.
Patel was suspended from the school when the allegations came to light and has since been sacked.
Head teacher Gary Loveridge said: "The way she wormed her way into the lives of these boys is disgusting."
He added that he was pleased she had been jailed.