A primary school teacher sexually abused a teenage girl before he was confronted by her mum.
Andrew Oldfield, a 34-year-old dad-of-two from Widnes in Cheshire, worked at Horn's Mill Primary School in Helsby, near Frodsham in Cheshire.
He sent his victim – who did not attend the school – a series of WhatsApp messages referring to the abuse, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Her mum found a text on the lock screen from Oldfield urging her to delete the messages.
The woman confronted Oldfield, who at first concocted an elaborate lie to try and fool her.
David Watson, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court the mum managed to access her daughter's phone by guessing the PIN.
He said she was so concerned by the "intimate" messages she read that she woke up her sleeping daughter and questioned her.
The court heard the girl became very upset and, while maintaining that nothing had happened, asked her mum to promise that she wouldn't call the police.
However, she challenged Oldfield, who admitted he may have gone “over the line” but denied any sexual activity.
He attended Widnes police station the following day, when he confessed that he had been kissing, cuddling and touching the child, but denied having sexual intercourse with her.
Mr Watson said the girl was video interviewed and told officers Oldfield had formed a "relationship" with her, but that it was "different".
She explained that he had taken her out in his car when they kissed each other, before he touched her breasts and genital area over clothing, and she rubbed his penis over his trousers.
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The court heard this progressed on later occasions to Oldfield touching her under clothing, performing a sex act on her, and making her masturbate him.
The girl explained that she had what she described as consensual sexual intercourse with Oldfield on approximately seven occasions, when he took her virginity and didn't use a condom.
The victim recalled he also made her perform another sex act on two or three occasions, and performed a sex act on her two or three times.
Mr Watson said: "She stated that the defendant had discussed with her the consequences of anyone finding out, namely that the police would be involved, and that she should be careful who she told."
In his first interview with police, ahead of the victim speaking with officers, Oldfield admitted some sexual activity, but denied ever having sexual intercourse with the girl.
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After officers had briefly spoken with the child, he continued to deny her version of events, before accepting that they had sexual intercourse on approximately five occasions.
Following her video-recorded interview, Oldfield finally accepted that her entire account was correct.
Oldfield, now of Manchester Road in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, admitted four counts of sexual activity with a child. He had no previous convictions.
In a victim statement, the girl said that looking back she now knew what Oldfield did was "wrong" and shouldn't have happened.
Mr Watson said she expressed relief that the investigation was coming to an end and told police she sometimes felt "empty and numb".
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He highlighted the "significant disparity in age" between Oldfield and his victim and said aggravating features of the case included the steps he took to try and prevent the girl reporting the abuse.
David Bruce, defending, said his client had worked hard to study to become a teacher, but as a result of these offences had lost the job he loved and since suffered from depression.
Judge Anil Murray sentenced Oldfield to four years in jail and made a restraining order to protect his victim.
He said Oldfield must sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for life.
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