A MARRIED teaching assistant who performed sex acts on a teenage pupil on a plane during a flight home from a school trip has been jailed.
Jill Medrum-Jones had a brief sexual relationship with a 15 year-old boy after the pair became close during a school trip to South Africa last year and started going for walks alone together.
The mum-of-two met the pupil at the secondary school in South Warwickshire where she assisted with PE, Science and Humanities subjects.
A court heard the 37 year-old also sent the teenager “highly sexualised” messages once they were back in the UK but there was no more physical contact.
The incident only came to light in February this year when rumours which were circulating the school were brought to the attention of the police.
Meldrum-Jones gave no comment interviews to officers but pleaded guilty to five charges of sexual activity with a child at Warwick Crown Court on November 2. She also admitted two charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Meldrum-Jones, of Kineton, wept in the dock as she was jailed for two years and eight months at Coventry Crown Court on Monday.
The teaching assistant, who wore a black long-sleeved t-shirt and black trousers, was also handed a sexual harm prevention order for five years.
Sentencing, Judge Philip Gregory told Meldrum-Jones: “It almost beggars belief that someone from your background, happily married with two children, should so lose control of your senses and judgement that you would permit yourself to behave in this way.
“It seems to me that you lost control of your senses as well as control of your physical urges.
“At the time you were a teaching assistant charged with responsibility for teenage children on a school trip.
“This should have been a wonderful experience but for one of them, the victim, it was an incident which has plagued him ever since because of the serious sexual misconduct of which you involved him.
“You’re 37, he was 15. That’s a substantial age difference, you and you alone are responsible for what happened.
“It would have been bad enough if it happened on one occasion but it happened repeatedly.”
The court heard was “overly familiar” with pupils at the school, which cannot be named for legal reasons.
Simon Hunka, defending, said Meldrum-Jones – who has a 12 year-old son and a seven year-old daughter – suffered from depression and was diagnosed two months after the school trip.
He added: “Her behaviour is so out of character given her life prior to last year.
“Depression can’t be an explanation but when someone suffers from depression they lose that same sense of fear and they take decisions that others wouldn’t ordinarily do.
“I can’t explain away what she did but it sets in some context why this woman goes to such strange extremes.”
Speaking after sentencing an NSPCC spokesman said parents sent their children on school trips with the expectation they would be cared for by teaching staff.
He added: “Meldrum-Jones abused that trust and must face the consequences of her grossly inappropriate behaviour.
“Her victim has struggled to come to terms with what happened and it is vital that children who are subjected to sexual misconduct, get the necessary support to move forward with their lives.”