A teacher who groomed and had sex with a 15-year-old boy has been sentenced to more than six years in prison.
Married Kandice Barber was found guilty of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity in January following a retrial and was sentenced for her “beyond despicable” crimes on Friday.
During the trial, Amersham Law Courts heard the 35-year-old had told the boy she would “bring him down with her” if the relationship was discovered.
She had sent topless pictures of herself to the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, while she was working as a school cover supervisor, as well as a “live video” of her performing a sex act on herself.
Prosecutor David Povall summarised a statement from the victim, who said he faced stress and anxiety as a result of the incidents and going through two trials.
He continued: “He feels that his GCSE results were not as good as they should have been, in part as a result of the impact of these incidents on him.
“As a result of his poorer-than-expected GCSE results he had to leave the good school he was attending and go to a sixth-form college where none of his friends were.
“In summary, he says that the defendant … who was supposed to help students make the right decisions instead helped him to make all the wrong decisions.”
Recorder Bal Dhaliwal handed Barber a sentence of six years and two months for the charge of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
She described how Barber added herself to the victim’s Snapchat account in September 2018, exchanging messages with the boy which became sexual within a week.
She said: “You also sent images, including a topless image of yourself, and a live video in which you were masturbating. All of these acts are tantamount to you grooming him and pulling him in, and with significant planning on your part.”
During one incident, the court heard Barber asked the boy to meet her, going to a private field and having sex with him.
The judge continued: “There is no doubt in my mind that you acted in gross breach of trust. You took advantage of a child in your care and groomed him for your own sexual gratification.”
Barber later told the boy to delete all messages and block her on Snapchat to stop evidence being found.
“You remained determined to silence him in whatever way you could,” Judge Dhaliwal said.
Barber later told the teenager that she was pregnant and was unsure whether the baby was his or her husband’s. “This was yet another attempt by you to manipulate and control him,” the judge continued.
“You already had authority over him by the nature of your position, and to use threats to bring him down so he would comply with your demands to remain quiet, which is what I find that you did, is in my view beyond despicable.”
The judge added that it made no difference that Barber was female and the victim was male.
Barber was also handed a 16-month prison sentence for causing a child under 16 to watch sexual activity by a person in breach of trust and a further 10-month sentence for sexual communication, both to be served concurrently with her main sentence.
She will be required to notify police of her personal details and address for the rest of her life, as well as being barred from working with children and vulnerable adults, and being subject to a lifelong sexual harm prevention order.
Following the sentencing, the NSPCC stressed the need for victims of child sexual abuse to be properly supported.
A spokesperson for the charity said: “As a teacher, Barber would have been well aware of the vulnerability of young people, and it was her duty to safeguard those in her care.
“But, instead, she exploited her position of trust to groom and abuse this teenage boy for her own sexual gratification.”