Jurors in trial of Warblington School teacher accused of sex with 4 pupils urged not to 'be misled'
A JURY has been told not to ‘be misled’ when they consider their verdicts in a trial of a PE teacher accused of having sex with four pupils.
Jurors hearing former Warblington School teacher Sean Aldridge’s trial are expected to be sent out on Wednesday.
In his closing statement, prosecutor Robert Bryan said 37-year-old Aldridge, of Edmund Road, Southsea, ‘thought he was too good to be caught’.
The acts allegedly took place while Aldridge was a teacher in Havant between 2006 and 2012.
‘He thought through loyalty he would have the girls' silence,' Mr Bryan said.
‘He called witnesses to support his qualifications as a teacher but he is is undone by his own dishonesty.’
Mr Bryan said Aldridge was ‘hiding behind evidence’ when he gave no comment during a police interview, on his lawyer’s advice.
He also recalled evidence about a text said to have been sent by Aldridge’s then-partner to one of the trial’s four complainants.
‘Sean’s wife had messaged her and apologised for what her husband had done and told her not to tell anyone,' he said.
But in her closing speech Heather Stangoe, defending, said there was ‘simply no way’ jurors could be sure the complainants had not ‘put their heads together’.
‘It is not for me to say there has been collusion,' she told jurors.
‘You, ladies and gentleman, have to be sure there has not been – and on the evidence presented, there’s simply no way you can be.’
Laughter erupted from the jury as Ms Stangoe questioned a prosecution witness’ evidence, which she said has come in ‘four versions’ between the alleged acts and trial.
She said: ‘A great philosopher once said you don’t need a great memory if you are telling the truth.
‘If you are wondering who that great philosopher was, it was Winnie the Pooh.’
Ms Stangoe also hit out at police for not further probing the level of staff access to the PE office Aldridge is alleged to have met pupils in.
‘There could not be a more stark illustration of what happens when police don’t do their jobs,' she said.
Dad-of-two Aldridge denies 28 counts of sexual activity with four girls when they were pupils.