Female drama teacher who groomed schoolgirl is jailed for nine months

Female drama teacher who groomed ‘besotted’ schoolgirl, 15, she taught from age of nine into having lesbian affair is jailed for nine months

  • Kim Connor began teaching the girl at school in Salford when she was just nine
  • Started grooming her aged 13 as she struggled coming to terms with sexuality
  • Victim kept relationship a secret until 2018 when she decided to go to police
  • Found guilty of six counts linked to sexual activity with a child and was jailed for nine months at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester
  • Connor was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for ten years

A drama teacher who had an illicit lesbian affair with a teenage pupil after they bonded over their joint love of live music and the theatre was jailed for nine months today.

Kim Connor, 46, began grooming the youngster at a time when the victim was just 13 and struggling to come to terms with her sexuality.

During their affair, Connor treated the youngster to tickets for West End shows including Cabaret and a gig by songwriter KT Tunstall and invited her sign in a choir with her on a stage at a Sir Rod Stewart concert in Manchester.

The girl became ‘enthralled and besotted’ with Connor whilst the victim’s unsuspecting parents mistakenly assumed the teacher was mentoring their daughter. The pair went on holiday together to Portugal had meals out at restaurants and nights away in hotels.

The forbidden romance ran for almost six years and ended when the victim discovered her older lover had been secretly undergoing IVF treatment to have a baby.

The youngster was said to have been ‘in thrall’ to Kim Connor, 46, pictured, who began teaching her at stage school when she was aged just nine.

She kept their liaisons a secret until 2018 when the spread of the #MeToo movement led her go to police.

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, the victim, now 31, broke down in tears in the public gallery as Connor who at the time of her arrest was Head of Performing Arts at a Manchester school, was led away by prison guards.

Earlier in an emotion charged statement the victim said she had been left suicidal following her secret affair with her former drama teacher as it affected her relationship with her parents who were said to be ‘heartbroken’ by the revelations.

The victim sobbed as she said: ‘From the age of 14 my life has been based around secrets and lies and this was down to Kim’s manipulation and control of me for six years.

‘She instructed me to keep our relationship a secret, not through excitement of it – but because it was wrong. Even though she has not been present in my life for the last ten years, she has still destroyed the love, trust and attachment a child should have with their parents.

Minshull Street Crown Court, pictured, heard Kim Connor, 46, groomed the girl,  who was aged 14 at the time in 2004

‘My dreams and aspirations for the theatre have been tarnished. Kim took the best years of my life away from me. She made me lose my family. She doesn’t understand the hold she had over me for so many years.’

The pair met in 1998 when the girl enrolled at another arts school where Connor had just joined the drama department and where fellow teachers described her as ‘trustworthy, truthful and an honest person of morals and integrity.’

The court heard the two later became close and when she turned 13, Connor began to offer the teenager weekly private tuition at her home in Kersal, Salford.

Mr Darren Preston prosecuting said: ‘When in her mid-teens the complainant had difficulty coming to terms with her sexuality and was not sure if she was gay. But during a lesson Connor kissed the girl on the lips when she was 14 in a chaste way and the situation began to develop and the two began to regularly meet and text each other.

‘The relationship began to become sexual and stopped being just pecks on the cheek and the girl would stay overnight at the defendant’s home when she was 14. It was with the full knowledge of her parents but they trusted the teacher.

‘As far as the younger girl was concerned she thought they were in a relationship and would go out to restaurants together as well as attending concerts and going shopping at the Trafford Centre. However, when they were out in public, the defendant would warn the complainant she could not tell anyone they were together and that there should be no overt signs of affection.

‘If asked, she was to say she was 21 and the defendant warned her that she might have to push her away. She knew full well what she was doing was wrong. The complainant was besotted with the defendant but was never allowed to show affection.

‘They became friendly. They became affectionate. It was a relationship which was unequal – but one which was exploitative. While the defendant never did anything the complainant did not consent to, the reality is that this was an abusive relationship. The complainant was vulnerable and the defendant exploited the fact she was only 14 when the relationship started.’

By October 2004, the court heard Connor would ‘test the boundaries’ and when she the girl turned 15, the relationship became ‘more intense and sexual’ following the death of the victim’s grandmother, the court heard.

It was claimed the pair began to kiss more and and they would swap texts and she would sign off saying: ‘your Kim.’ It was claimed at one point Connor was said to have showed the teenager a safe in her wardrobe containing various sex toys.

The girl left the school when she was 16 but the relationship continued until she was 20 when she started a university degree. She became ‘upset’ after finding out that Connor had been undergoing IVF treatment behind her back, and they later split.

Connor, a single mother of twin daughters was found guilty of three offences of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust and a further three counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity by a person in a position of trust.

She denied wrongdoing claiming the relationship only began when the girl was 18 and said they grew close following the Rod Stewart concert. She said: ‘At first I was fond of her as a student and a friend.

‘She was talented and I wanted to nature that talent as when I was growing up I never had anyone pushing me to attain my goals. But she was a friend – no more than that. We then grew close and I had feelings for her but I wasn’t breaking any laws.’

But Judge John Edwards told her: ‘You were an inspirational teacher devoting yourself for 25 years to the betterment of others and opening the eyes of young people to the arts – a skill much derided and underestimated. But that said the complainant’s enjoyment of drama has been irrevocably tarnished and has affected her for years.

‘You crossed a boundary and by doing so jeopardized your career and her innocence. It was utterly selfish and potentially very damaging to a young woman who was both confused and in your thrall in equal measure. She was groomed and manipulated during an extremely impressionable time in her life.’

Connor was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for ten years.

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