Pupil’s regret over ‘relationship with teacher’

Caroline French

Caroline French

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A WOMAN allegedly seduced by her teacher when she was just 15 has told a court she regretted revealing their relationship to police.

The woman, who attended a Blackpool high school when the alleged offences occurred, said having to give evidence against drama tutor Caroline French had made it “all come back”.

Her admission came during the 38-year-old’s trial at Preston Crown Court, as it came to light another teacher at the school had concerns the relationship between French and her pupil was “not purely platonic”.

The girl was just 15 when the alleged relationship began in 2004.

But it was not until 2009 the 10-month relationship came to light, when the woman – now 22 – was approached by police investigating another of French’s relationships.

Speaking via video-link, the alleged victim told the court: “If I could go back, I probably would not, in all honesty, have said anything.

“It’s all come back. I had laid it to rest.

“It shouldn’t have happened but it’s always been at the back of my mind what I did was wrong.”

She also revealed how French – formerly of St David’s Road North, St Annes – had “asked (her) to finish with” another girlfriend “because she was jealous”.

Andrew Nuttal, defending, has accused the girl of inventing the “fantasy” about a relationship between her and French.

He said: “None of this ever happened. You never had any kind of relationship with Miss French at all.”

But the court heard from another drama teacher who said she went to the school’s head because of concerns about French’s relationship with the pupil.

The teacher, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “I started to notice that I felt like they had a secret together.

“They would sometimes resort to whispering together and giggling together. I recall I walked into the drama office and they were sat knee to knee holding hands.”

And the teacher recalled one occasion when French and the girl had both revealed they now had partners on the same day and arrived at school with bracelets on.

She added: “They said their partners had given them to them but they were matching bracelets.”

The headteacher also gave evidence at the trial and said he had spoken to French – who he described as a “first-class teacher” - and reminded her about the dangers of “over familiarity” with students.

French, who now lives in Darlington, denies one count of indecency with a child and three counts of indecent assault.

(Proceeding)