Kenilworth teacher pleads guilty to sexual activity with two girls at school in Warwick

Richard Ackland leaving Warwick Crown Court
Richard Ackland leaving Warwick Crown Court

A Kenilworth teacher who abused his position at a school in Warwick by taking part in sexual activities with two female pupils has been told to prepare himself for an immediate prison sentence.

Even though the girls were both 16 at the times Richard Ackland was involved with them, his activity was still an offence because of his position of trust at their school.

Despite clear evidence against him, including messages he had exchanged, Ackland, 43, initially pleaded not guilty to the charges he faced.

But on the day of his trial at Warwick Crown Court, his barrister Lisa Hancox asked for two of the charges to be put to him again.

Ackland then pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, a 16-year-old girl, while in a position of trust as a teacher at her school.

He also pleaded guilty to causing or inciting a child, another 16-year-old pupil, to engage in sexual activity three or four years earlier, again while in a position of trust.

Ackland had also faced three further charges alleging the possession of indecent images of children, which he had denied.

Mr Robertson said that in view of the guilty pleas to the more serious charges, and the ‘difficulties in answering certain points’ raised about the images by a defence expert, it was not considered appropriate to ask for a trial on those matters.

Asking for the case to be adjourned for a pre-sentence report, Miss Hancox said Ackland had never been before the courts before and has ‘a troubled mental health history’.

Judge Sally Hancox asked: “Does he understand that, even with an acceptance of his basis of plea, the court’s primary thinking will be of a custodial sentence for these offences?”

Miss Hancox confirmed that he did.

Adjourning the case, and granting bail with conditions that he has no contact with either girl and co-operates with the probation service, the judge indicated: “I want a report to look at the on-going risk.”

And Judge Hancox told Ackland: “You have pleaded guilty to two counts which, I am sure it has been explained to you, are serious and significant.

“The evidence was of a very strong nature. I cannot understate the seriousness of these matters.

“When you next attend before me, the primary thought will be the imposition of an immediate term of custody, such has been your breach of trust in this case.”

Of granting him bail, she added: “It will give you the opportunity to put your personal circumstances in order. You must ready yourself to receive an immediate term of custody.”