Our thanks to Steve for this. An extract:
In a witness statement, the boy hinted that the discovery of the relationship had left him feeling suicidal: “I walked into roads about five or six times,” he said. “I had just had enough of it all.”
The boy had been receiving counselling, the court heard.
Defending, Cathy Thornton said that at the time of the relationship Ayres was at a low point personally and professionally. She painted a picture for magistrates of a “lady separated from her husband, struggling to cope emotionally”. She was also stressed after struggling to “essentially write” a school retail course. “I don’t think she was in the right frame of mind to assess things logically,” Ms Thornton said.
The defence is essentially that a woman shouldn’t be held accountable for her actions while she’s going through a stressful time, as she is not ‘in the right mind to assess things logically’. Is the (female) lawyer saying women become feeble-minded when under stress? That’s an intriguing mitigating circumstance, to put it mildly, and would surely never be applied to men. If this case had been one of a male teacher who admitted to kissing and flirting with a 17-year-old female pupil in a special needs school, he’d certainly be in prison today.