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London - A teacher who kept topless pictures of a teenage pupil in his desk drawer has been jailed over his sexual relationship with her.

Mark Fidler, 49, who had taught at his school for more than 25 years, broke down as he was sentenced to 22 months in prison.

He kept a memory stick in his desk drawer containing images of the 16-year-old girl topless or in her underwear, a judge heard.

Fidler, head of music at Belper School and Sixth Form Centre in Derbyshire, admitted taking the girl for a night away and showering her with underwear, jewellery and clothes.

Judge Steven Coupland told the shamed teacher: ‘You were in a position of responsibility and knew what the rules were about sexual contact with pupils. Your teacher’s ethos must have told you about that.’

The judge told the court that the damage caused to the victim was ‘impossible to quantify’.

Fidler, of Heanor, Derbyshire, started working at the school in 1993 and had been head of music since 2002. Suspicion fell on him after he was spotted alone with the pupil in his classroom. He was dismissed in December following an internal investigation. Leanne Summers, prosecuting, said a colleague found a memory stick containing the topless photographs after his dismissal. She said he and the victim were ‘seeing each other three times a week’.

The court heard the girl sent Fidler the images found on the memory stick. His phone was seized, and internet searches that asked whether if what he and the victim were doing was illegal were discovered.

The victim said she and Fidler had a sexual relationship. In July, Fidler pleaded guilty to one count of sexual activity with a girl while in a position of trust and one count of possessing 13 indecent images of the victim – ten pictures and three videos.

At the sentencing hearing at Nottingham Crown Court, Andrew Wesley, mitigating, said Fidler had ‘lost sight of his responsibilities as a teacher and an adult’.

He said Fidler suffered depression after the breakdown of his relationship with his former partner and now no longer sees his children.

After sentencing, Martyn Cooper, head at Belper School, said: ‘I wish to reassure parents... that pupils’ well-being is of paramount importance to us.’ A 2018 Ofsted inspection said the school’s safeguarding procedures were effective.

Daily Mail