An 'obsessed' teen ruined a teacher's life by faking WhatsApp messages and subjecting her to 'abuse, threats and manipulation'.
A relieved Rebecca Whitehurst was acquitted yesterday (Tuesday, July 12) of having an intimate relationship with a teenage pupil, at Manchester Crown Court, following a six-day trial.
The 46 year-old sobbed when the jury cleared her of two counts of sexual activity with a child and one of sexual communications.
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The prosecution had alleged Mrs Whitehurst had become emotionally and sexually involved with a 'troubled young boy' who was a pupil at her school.
Her defence argued that although she may have handled things better the boy was 'far from' being a victim and that her accuser had subjected her to 'abuse, threats and manipulation'.
The defence said there was never any form of sexual activity and that the messages she was alleged to have sent and received over WhatsApp had been faked by the boy, a part of a 'fantasy' he had created.
The married mother-of-two, from Lymm, had noticed the pupil 'visibly upset' during a lesson at a school in Greater Manchester in April 2019 and invited him to one of her 'mindfulness sessions' to help with his mental health.
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The boy sent her a ghost emoji during an email thread, which she said showed that he wanted to speak on the instant-messaging app, Snapchat, as he told her he didn't trust emails.
"I sent him an email with my Snapchat username for him to find me so that he could tell me what the secret was," she told the court.
"The secret was that he was in love with me.'
Mrs Whitehurst said she was ‘scared’ and that she had ‘stupidly broken the cardinal rule’ by sharing with the boy her non-school contact details.
Speaking of a number of incidents where the boy allegedly went to her classroom, she said: “He came to my room and he stuck his tongue down my throat."
When asked by her QC Mark Ford if she reported this, she admitted she had not as she ‘thought I would be held responsible as I’m the adult and he’s the child’.
The boy told police in a video interview, which was played during the trial, that Mrs Whitehurst 'knew what she was doing' and that what she did was 'entirely wrong'.
On another occasion he said she had just 'made a mistake'.
He admitted having a 'crush' on the teacher.
The teenager told the officers: "I don't know what love is but I guess I just wanted to be with her.
"I was kind of pestering her a lot which is kind of wrong but I didn't realise it at the time."
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