A learning supervisor who developed an ‘obsessive relationship’ with a female pupil who attended the Northumberland school where she worked has narrowly avoided a prison sentence.
Tracey Sandra Graham, 34, of Queen Street, Alnwick, pleaded guilty to harassment of the teenager between June 2011 and July 2012.
On Monday Graham appeared at Newcastle Crown Court where prosecutor Gavin Doig described how Graham had befriended the youngster, taking her on trips to Druridge Bay and Edinburgh Zoo, as well as giving her cards and gifts as well as a mixtape of love songs.
“She befriended this young girl, and made the girl’s mother trust her,” he said.
“She gave her lifts home.
“The pattern of contact is an obsessive one.”
Ros Scott-Bell, for Graham, said: “She is a lady of hitherto good character.
“She can see precisely now, with the benefit of hindsight, but she was leaned upon by this girl.
“She accepts she took over the relationship and she inundated her with wholly inappropriate cards and gifts.
“She goes out of her way to help, and that is what she did, but she went totally over the top and smothered the relationship and she should have known better.
“It was a relationship that she closed her eyes to. She simply failed to see the impact that she was having on the young girl.”
In sentencing Graham to eight weeks in prison suspended for 12 months, Judge Penny Moreland said: “I have seen the cards you have sent her with wholly inappropriate messages. You referred to her as your princess, told her you loved her and bombarded her with texts and calls.
“She was a vulnerable young girl and you were acting in breach of the trust placed in you as a teaching supervisor.
“You have lost your job and it will be difficult, if not impossible to work again with children and young people.
“You have bought shame on yourself and your family.”
She was also given a five year restraining order against the youngster.