A TEACHER had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl, a jury has been told.
Keith Wright, who taught science at Testbourne Community School, in Whitchurch, is accused of five counts of indecent assault against the girl, during a period of two months more than a decade ago.
The pair used to meet at Whitchurch Silk Mill car park at night, before Wright drove her in his car to country lanes, where they would kiss, the trial at Salisbury Crown Court was told.
Later in the relationship, the jury heard that Wright took the girl to country pubs and bought her alcohol, before the pair went to his bedroom. It was there that the assaults took place, the court heard.
Opening the prosecution case, Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, said: “This is not about sexual intercourse – this is about sexual intimacy between a 15-year-old girl and an older man.”
Miss Maylin said the relationship started when the girl approached Wright and said that she had a “soft spot” for him.
The court heard Wright replied: “I feel exactly the same. I have met the woman of my dreams but she is too young.” Despite this, Wright gave the girl his mobile phone number and they met secretly that night, Miss Maylin said.
The jury heard that the relationship petered out after the girl turned 16. But the alleged assaults came to light last year after the victim sent Wright a message on a social media site saying that the relationship was wrong.
The matter was reported to the police and Wright was arrested, Miss Maylin said. He told officers that he was “flattered” when the girl told him she liked him, and said he did meet up with her.
Wright said she tried to kiss him but he stopped it because he knew it was wrong. However, he admitted they had a sexual encounter after she turned 16, the court heard.
On Monday, the alleged victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, burst into tears as she swore the oath as a witness, before watching a video of an interview she gave to a police officer.
In it, she said Wright was “ravenous” when he kissed her for the first time which she said left her feeling “in turmoil”.
This morning, Wright told the jury that he did have one sexual encounter with the teenager, but only after she turned 16, and denied the indecent assaults.
He said that his feelings grew stronger for her as he came to know her, and they would meet at his house once or twice a week over a period of six weeks when she was 16.
During this time they would “kiss and cuddle”, and this led to the only sexual act between the two, he said. But the court heard this liaison ended when she went on holiday.
Asked whether he said the alleged victim was the “woman of his dreams”, he said: “I did not say that at all. That’s ludicrous.”
Miss Maylin, cross-examining Wright, asked: “I am going to suggest that you have fitted this sexual relationship into when she was 16. That’s right, isn’t it?”
He replied: “I have not tried to fit anything – that’s when the relationship occurred.”
The jury also heard that Wright had been in contact with three teenage girls on Facebook soon after they had left Testbourne.
One comment on a status update made by one of the girls, the jury heard, was a sexual innuendo which Wright had posted under the pseudonym Dirk Gently.
Wright said the comments were silly and that he was not doing anything wrong.
The jury heard from two people who praised Wright’s character – former Testbourne pupil Andrew Morris and teaching colleague Joanna Kent.
Mrs Kent, who taught science with Wright at Testbourne, said: “He was always very professional and had a good working relationship with all members of staff and pupils.
“He was fair and had good discipline and worked with a set of rules he adhered to.”
Wright, 48, of Bell Street, Whitchurch, denies five counts of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16.
The trial continues.