Teacher jailed for having sexual relationship with schoolgirl

Nicola Park, 42, got close to the girl for more than two years as her own marriage fell apart.

Teacher Nicola Park jailed for having sexual relationship with schoolgirl Feixianhu via iStock

A teacher at a top private school who had a sexual relationship with a pupil has been jailed for 27 months.

Nicola Park, 42, got close to the girl for more than two years as her own marriage fell apart.

The then 15-year-old had initially spoken to Park as she struggled with a personal issue.

They soon went on regular secret trysts – including staying at Park’s home – with the teacher calling the girl “my angel”.

The teenager eventually wanted to end contact in 2020 as she moved to university.

She then revealed what had happened with Park to her doctor before a police probe was sparked.

When officers later searched Park’s home, they made a number of discoveries linking the pair including photos of a “sexual nature”.

She pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to engaging in a sexual relationship with the pupil while in a position of trust between December 9, 2016 and April 14, 2019.

Sheriff John McCormick told her during sentencing on Friday: “This was not a momentary lapse in an otherwise unblemished career in teaching.

“This was abuse of trust of a teacher in her late 30s with an adolescent young female that included kissing, touching and engaging in sexual acts.

“You were a teacher and it was you who was in a position of responsibility and trust.

“Such is the gravity of the offence, the time it occurred and the professional role as a teacher at the school, in my opinion there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.”

Park, of Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, was also put on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.

Her details were also passed to the authorities stating that she is “unsuitable to work with children”.

The teacher was assistant housemistress at the school while also teaching maths and social education.

In December 2016, the girl became upset and spoke to Park after complaining of feeling “alone”.

Prosecutor Jennifer McKee told the court: “She said Park would not understand how she felt.

“She replied that she did understand having recently separated from her husband.

“Park offered the girl support which helped her cope with how she was feeling.”

The teacher said the teenager could contact her outside school hours.

Regular emails were then exchanged including on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Park went on to call herself “Auntie Nic” and would sign off with a number of kisses.

The pair met in January 2017 in Glasgow’s west end. The court heard it was “understood by both this would not be discussed with anyone else”.

Ms McKee said: “Park mentioned that they ‘probably should not be meeting up’.

“The girl felt special knowing that Park was prepared to break the rules for her by meeting her.”

The court heard the pair met up on Sundays where kissing occurred.

Park later contacted the teenager before she went on holiday.

The gushing message included: “You are my angel. I love you to bits.”

Park was later involved in sex acts with the girl.

The teenager often went to Park’s then home in Glasgow’s Hyndland.

The teenager – now 18 – eventually moved to start university and believed the “relationship had ended”.

But, the hearing was Park struggled with the “breakdown” and “displayed manipulative behaviour” towards the girl.

This led to the teenager suffering from stress, losing more than a stone in weight and ending up in hospital.

In September 2020, she went to her GP and revealed what had been going on with Park.

The girl went on to block contact with Park before contacting the NSPCC.

In October 2020, Park’s home was searched by police.

Officers seized a number of photos of the pair together including on an iPhone.

Park later said there had been contact with the girl outside school, but denied anything “inappropriate”.

On being charged, she insisted: “Completely untrue. There was no sexual activity.”

Park’s lawyer said that Park will never work as a teacher again.

Iain Paterson, defending, added: “She dedicated her life to teaching and in this particular incident, she fell off and got herself involved in a situation she now bitterly regrets.

“He name has been plastered across newspapers and her reputation has been ruined, her profession has been lost and her friend groups have been lost.

“She is completely aware what she did was completely wrong and is extremely understanding to the cause of upset to the victim, her family, the wider community and the school.”