Paedophile teacher Sean Aldridge jailed for 12 years after grooming four Warblington School pupils

PAEDOPHILE PE teacher Sean Aldridge confided to one of the female pupils he was having sex with that he ‘could go to prison’ for his crimes.

Monday, 29th July 2019, 12:18 pm
Updated Monday, 29th July 2019, 7:53 pm

Today that self-fulfilling prophecy has come true as the brazen former assistant headteacher and head of safeguarding at Warblington School, Havant, was thrown behind bars as punishment for having sexual encounters with four girls.

Aldridge was handed down a term of 12 years by judge Roger Hetherington at Portsmouth Crown Court amid emotional scenes as disbelieving loyal supporters, including former pupils, were left struggling to accept the bitter truth over the popular teacher.

Meanwhile, the man once described as a ‘shining light’ to teachers and pupils due to his natural rapport and ability to get the best from students, was once again left in denial in the dock after shaking his head at the sentence in front of a packed public gallery.

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Sean Aldridge. Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

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The spectacular fall from grace for Aldridge, 37, brought vindication to the girls he had abused and who suffered for years following his unrelenting abuse on them when they were aged 13-16 between 2006-2012.

One of the girls read out a statement to the court during the sentencing hearing saying how her life had been ‘ruined’.

Taking the stand, the emotional woman told the court she was ‘happy’ and ‘in love’ during her fantasy relationship with Aldridge. ‘I felt special and chosen. He was a teacher who was willing to risk it all for me,' she said.

‘But when I had left school and was at college I wondered why it was a secret and why he was so cagey and unavailable. Alarm bells started to ring.’

As time went on the victim just thought her ‘first love’ was just ‘not meant to be’.

But with her mental health unravelling as she struggled with anxiety the girl, who underwent therapy, realised she ‘needed closure’.

‘I had fallen in love with him and couldn’t move forward. I wondered what was wrong with me and why he wanted to hurt me,’ she said.

‘I gave my virginity to a guy who just wanted to get his kicks. I felt dirty, abused, stupid and embarrassed. He wrapped up his abuse in a love story.’

Other victim statements were read out to the court where the girls revealed Aldridge made them feel ‘pretty’ before years later they said their lives had been ‘ruined’ with them feeling ‘disgusted’. One said: ‘I thought I would be in trouble if I told anyone.’

Judge Roger Hetherington told Aldridge his ‘abuse of trust was truly appalling’ after using his ‘special rapport' with pupils. He said: ‘You traded on that and selected girls you were physically attracted to but who were also vulnerable who you could help. Each girl was groomed to see you as a friend first before being seen as a teacher.’

The judge said the first sexual experience for these girls was taken from them by Aldridge who had demonstrated his ‘arrogance’ after his 'ruthless exploitation’ to fulfil his own sexual gratification.

Judge Hetherington added: ‘By 2017 you were safeguarding lead at the school. It must have taken breathtaking arrogance and deception to even apply for the position.’

Aldridge, of Edmund Road, Southsea, was found guilty of 24 counts of sexual activity with a child and a single charge of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity after a three week trial.

The girls had been accused of ‘getting their heads together’ by Aldridge and his lawyer Heather Stangoe, who said at sentencing: ‘He started teaching at 25 years old and found himself surrounded by girls who had crushes on him. He was unable to deal with that.’

She added: ‘Prison will be very difficult for him he will be on the sexual offenders’ wing.’

Aldridge’s insatiable appetite for girls at the school was matched only by his arrogance in believing he could silence the now young women - two of whom he seedily took their virginity from after engaging in intercourse across locations around the school such as his office and washroom.

But after realising they had been groomed by the predator, years later they finally built up the courage to admit the truth after covering for Aldridge for so long.

Aldridge even impregnated one girl before she had a miscarriage. His first thought was for himself. ‘I could go to prison for this,’ he told her, casting a mental scar on her first sexual experience.

All this behind the back of his long suffering partner, who he had two children with. His fling with one of the girls happened around the time he went on paternity leave for his new born baby.

Warblington School, which carried out an investigation into Aldridge’s conduct with a pupil on a previous occasion, promoted the assistant headteacher to head of safeguarding.