A teaching assistant sent a schoolboy photos of herself in her underwear, bought him sweets and sent him pressuring texts.

Helen Turnbull groomed the teenager with sweets and cuddles

Helen Turnbull groomed the teenager with sweets and cuddles

Helen Louise Turnbull has been accused of grooming the 16 year-old; she has admitted kissing him but denies there was any actual sexual intercourse or oral sex.

However, the prosecution at Teeside Crown Court told the jury that 35 year-old Turnbull groomed the teenager with sweets and cuddles and persuaded him to meet her away from school.  After a secret liaison, the pair went in her Mini to a layby, where, the prosecution alleges, they had sex and two other sexual encounters followed in that same month.

The court heard how Turnbull’s husband accused her of having an affair after she returned drunk from the school prom and changed her Facebook profile picture to one of her with the pupil; a marital breakdown followed.

The prosecution told the court: “It is not suggested that [the pupil, who cannot be named for legal reasons] did not consent to what happened.  These offences arose because of the need to protect children while they are at school from exploitative relationships with adult teachers who have trusted access to them, that can allow them to groom people in their care, so they then willingly engage in sexual activity.”

Turnbull left court with her face covered

Turnbull left court with her face covered

The relationship was discovered when the teenage pupil’s father found out and saw Turnball’s car parked in their street; the boy had never told her where she lived and his father was furious, called her a paedophile and called the police.  The police were able to recover certain messages that she had deleted from her mobile phone and saw evidence of the pair discussing a night away at a hotel and looking forward to sharing a bed.

The trial continues.