Teacher who groomed boy with Mr Men jailed

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Raza, 46, was sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Friday

A science teacher who groomed a 15-year-old pupil with sexually explicit messages has been jailed for 14 months.

Father-of-three Syed Raza, a teacher in Bedfordshire, exchanged more than 1,250 texts and 125 calls with the boy, and gave him a ‘Mr Perfect’ Mr Men figure.

Raza, 46, admitted engaging in sexual communication with a child between September and December 2017.

Judge Richard Foster called Raza’s offences “disgusting, unacceptable and a gross breach of trust”.

He said: “There was clear evidence of grooming and planning. You were using Snapchat – knowing those messages disappear once read. You told him to delete messages and changed your name. You knew what you were doing was wrong.”

He added: “You have fallen from grace and lost your career as a teacher. You only have yourself to blame for that.”

‘I wish you were my son’

Luton Crown Court heard Raza, of Blakeney Drive, Luton, would tell the boy about his sex life with his wife, and send him messages confessing his love.

In one message read to the court, he wrote: “Missing you and wishing you were here. I love you. I wish you were my son and don’t you wish you could live with me?”

After a heart attack in October, the teacher sent the teenager pictures of himself in his hospital bed.

The relationship was discovered when the boy’s mother found a portable speaker and a ‘Mr Perfect’ Mr Men figure the teacher had bought him.

When she checked his phone she found explicit messages and called the police.

In a statement after his arrest, Raza said he had only been having banter and had no sexual interest in the boy.

The victim said in a personal statement that he was “quite confused” by what happened and was not now comfortable being alone with teachers.

‘Disgraceful behaviour’

Mitigating, Adam Budworth said Raza had references from family neighbours and colleagues, and apologised for his behaviour.

“He accepts it is quite unforgivable. He accepts it was disgraceful behaviour,” he said.

“He is never going to work in teaching again.”

Det Con Zac Kozlowski said: “Raza abused his position of trust, his behaviour was completely unacceptable and he took advantage of a child.”

Raza must register as a sex offender and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

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Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-46763378

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