Teaching assistant guilty of sex with pupil in supermarket car park

Outside St Albans Crown Court

Teaching assistant Hannah Harris, from Harrier Mill in Henlow, has been convicted of sexual activity with a child - Credit: Danny Loo

A teaching assistant has been found guilty of having sex with a 14-year-old pupil in a supermarket car park.

Hannah Harris, from Harrier Mill in Henlow, tricked the teenager’s parents into believing he was seeing a girl the same age by pretending to be her mother.

When Harris, who worked at a school in Hertfordshire, contacted the boy’s parents she claimed to be called Olivia.

She told them she lived in Baldock with her daughter Kayla, who was their son’s girlfriend.

In one text Harris, now 23, wrote: “Seems Kayla and …(the boy) are getting on well, so I am happy to ferry them around.”

Prosecutor Simon Wilshire told St Albans Crown Court: “Both parents believed they had spoken to Olivia on the phone and his mum had exchanged texts.

“The names Kayla and Olivia were fictions to hide the fact they were meeting up.

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“The parents were in fact talking to Ms Harris, as that was the number they had been given for Olivia.”

Harris was caught out in January 2020 when the boy’s older brother found out. The boy admitted Olivia and Kayla were fictional.

Mr Wilshire said: “When the parents became aware, they realised they had unwittingly facilitated the contact. They had been duped into the belief he was seeing someone of his own age.”

He went on: “As a teaching assistant at his school, she (Harris) would have known his age - such activity is a criminal offence regardless of whether he believed himself to be a willing party.”

Harris denied four charges of sexual activity with a child in December 2019 and January 2020.

On Monday, she was convicted by a jury majority of 10 to two of having sex with the boy in a supermarket car park. She was cleared of three other charges of sexual activity with him. They were alleged to have taken place twice on Dunstable Downs and once at her home.

When questioned by police, Harris said the first contact was initiated when he sent her an Instagram message.

After the verdict, defence barrister Julia Flanagan said Harris is now in a stable relationship.

Judge Caroline Wigin bailed Harris, who cried in the dock, for sentence on March 9. She must abide by a curfew between 7pm and 7am.

The judge said she will also have to register as a sex offender and told her: “The sentence is inevitably going to be custody."