Teacher who had sexual relationship with girl, 15, has 'excessive' prison sentence reduced

29 June 2022, 21:54

Nicola Park had her prison sentence reduced by 11 months
Nicola Park had her prison sentence reduced by 11 months. Picture: Spindrift

By Megan Hinton

A top private school teacher who engaged in sexual acts with a 15-year-old female student for over two years, has had her prison sentence reduced after it was ruled to be "excessive".

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Nicola Park, 42, was originally jailed for 27 months after she struck up a sexual relationship with a young girl between 2016 and 2019 before it ended when the teen moved away to university.

Her prison term has now been cut to 16 months after her legal team argued the sentence was "excessive".

The teen revealed what had happened with Park to her doctor, a police investigation was launched and during a search of Park's home, officers made a number of discoveries linking the pair including photos of a "sexual nature".

The maths teacher's marriage had fallen apart during the period and the pair grew close after the pupil reached out to Park for help with personal issues.

In text messages the disgraced teacher who also worked as an assistant housemistress at the school described the teenager as "my angel", singing emails and texts with a number of kisses and told the victim she "loved her to bits".

Read more: Teaching assistant had sex with boy, 15, and told him 'age is just a number'

The pair met in January 2017 in Glasgow's west end with prosecutor Jennifer McKee previously telling a court: "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."

Park then began to regularly meet with the teenager at her home where "kissing occurred" which later developed into sexual acts.

The teenager - now 18 - eventually moved to start university and believed the "relationship had ended".

Read more: Woman in Primark fitting rooms heard 'rustling' sound as Met cop secretly filmed her

In a written judgement today, Lord Matthews said: "There was a significant degree of planning and a high level of grooming resulting in an improper intimate relationship, which lasted for a considerable time.

"The appellant engineered situations where she was alone with the complainer in her car, her home, and elsewhere.

"She knew it was wrong and could have taken steps to end the relationship at any time but chose not to.

"While the appellant has expressed remorse, we note that in speaking to the author of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report, she attributed a large measure of responsibility for what happened to the complainer, which is a subversion of the true position.

"That having been said, there is force in the submission that the sentence was excessive."

During the previous trial the court was told Park struggled with the ending of the relationship and "displayed manipulative behaviour" towards the girl which caused the female such stress she lost more than a stone in weight and ending up in hospital.

Sheriff John McCormick told Park her crime amounted to "an abuse of trust" during sentencing.

Ian Patterson, defending, said: "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.

"Her 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."

Read more: Met PCSO admits to committing 'sex act' in a park after video shared online

Sheriff John McCormick told Park: "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 10 years.

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