Erin Hebblewhite

Erin Hebblewhite

What did Erin Hebblewhite plead guilty to?

Erin Hebblewhite, age 29 (in 2021), from Brighton, but originally from Australia, was a PE teacher at Connaught School for Girls, Leytonstone, East London.   Hebblewhite was a Sports Teacher of the Year. She was handed down a custodial sentence of 2 years for an “intense and passionate” affair with a female pupil age 16.

What sexual offences was Erin Hebblewhite, school teacher, accused of?

There was 4 charges of sexual activity with a girl aged between 13 to 17 and abusing her position of trust, with the fifth charge being sexual activity in the presence of a teenager. There were 2 further charges of taking and possession of indecent photographs of a girl under the age of 17.

The offences came to light when the victim’s family took the girl’s phone. Erin Hebblewhite was arrested on 28 October. After she was arrested, police found love letters and around 400 images and messages between Hebblewhite and the girl.

For how long was Erin Hebblewhite sent to prison?

At Snaresbrook Crown Court, Hebblewhite was jailed for 2 years, having pleaded guilty to the 7 offences. She was also banned from contacting the girl for the next 10 years and will be under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

What did the judge say about Erin Hebblewhite at the sentencing hearing?

The judge said: 'You sent her a text asking if she liked you. From that point, the relationship developed.

'It developed into flirtation, with you calling her a heart throb and the sexual encounters began.

'This involved kissing in the school premises and [the girl] felt she was pressurised and she gave in.

'You went on a date in a restaurant and that was the first occasion in which there was sex.

'There were rumours going around the school and, in fact, the school warned you to be careful as you could get into trouble.

'When you split up with your partner, [the girl] would go to your house and the sex would continue in your house.

'She had pictures taken of her. She felt she needed to do so to make you happy.'

The judge continued: 'I have read the victim personal statement and can summarise as such the areas [the girl] describes is feeling guilty and shame and depression, PTSD and feeling suicidal.

'She describes the interruption of an important time of education and development.

'She talks about the damage to her relationships of her friends, family and her best friend. She says she struggles with adult relationships and she found the criminal process an ordeal.

'I consider the right starting point for the totality of this offending would be three years imprisonment.

'You pleaded guilty at the first reasonable opportunity so you are entitled to full credit. I reduce this to two years.

'I have to consider whether to suspend that sentence or not.

'Given the number of your offences, I consider the appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody.'