Home Breaking News Science teacher, 43, groomed and had sex with pupil, 16, in ‘gross...

Science teacher, 43, groomed and had sex with pupil, 16, in ‘gross betrayal of trust’

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A former science teacher from South London has been jailed after having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old pupil.

Robert Hanna, 43, of Lant Street, Southwark, was found guilty by a jury in October for multiple offences including inciting a child into having sexual activity while in a position of trust.

Today (Tuesday, November 23), at Inner London Crown Court, wearing a light blue shirt with a dark blue tie in the dock, the struck-off teacher appeared emotionless as he stared blankly into space while he was being sentenced.

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The court heard how Hanna groomed and manipulated his victim, a 16-year-old girl, into having sex with him on multiple occasions, including at his flat which he shared with his partner of 17 years.

They also met several times at hotels across London, namely at a Citizen M hotel and a Crystals Hotel, and on one occasion he even took her to Bristol. This all took place over several months in 2019.

Hanna was sentenced this morning (November 23) at Inner London Crown Court

He also bought alcohol which he drank with the victim on more than one occasion, the court heard.

In April 2019, the victim found the courage to tell a teacher of what had been happening and the school immediately suspended Hanna.

Officers interviewed him the following day and he denied being in a sexual relationship with the victim.

A subsequent investigation found hotel check in and check out confirmation, bank statements, and phone download evidence that corroborated the account given by the victim.

Evidence from a victim impact statement heard how the girl, who was 16 at the time the offences were committed, still suffers from nightmares and increased anxiety as a result of what happened.

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Robert Evans, prosecuting, said: “The defendant had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl, which began with inappropriate meetings in and out of school.

“He targeted a vulnerable child with mental health issues. The victim was able to leave the school but it had a huge impact on her education.

“He also threatened to tell her parents that she was taking drugs.”

He added that the defence tried to ‘exploit’ the victim during the jury trial.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Mark Paul McDonald told the court: “To say that this impacted her education is slightly undermined by the fact that she completed A-Levels and has now gone to university.

“He was somebody who had impeccable good character prior to this offence, and fellow teachers and friends came to give evidence on his behalf during the trial.

“He is a broken man. He is at a low risk of re-offending and the public do not need protection from him.”

Mr McDonald added that Hanna is now on anti-depressants and that the whole process has caused him a “great deal of stress”.

Hanna will automatically be banned from teaching and working with children in any capacity for the rest of his life.

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During sentencing, Judge Nigel Reed QC blasted Hanna, telling him: “This was as gross a betrayal of trust between a schoolteacher and a pupil as there ever could be.

“On your own evidence you admit that the complainant was a vulnerable student who had a history of self-harming and mental health issues – but you singled her out.

“You were a 40-year-old man and she was a 16-year-old girl who you carefully groomed. Like a wolf, you carefully isolated her from the pack.”

He was sentenced to a total of three years in prison and will be required to sign the sex offenders register. He will also have a sexual harm prevention order placed upon him for life.

Detective constable Erica Slater, from Central South Command, said: “This was a complex case where Hanna denied everything from the beginning and lied continuously throughout the case. However, the victim courageously remained steadfast in her evidence and following a thorough investigation his accounts were disproved.

“Today’s sentence highlights the severity of this case and I would encourage anyone who is a victim of or victim to sexual abuse in any context to contact police. We have specially trained officers to investigate as well as ensuring there is ongoing support provided to the victims.”

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/science-teacher-43-groomed-sex-22250050