A married teaching assistant who performed sex acts on a 15-year-old pupil on a plane returning from a school trip, and on other occasions, has been jailed for 32 months. Mother-of-two Jill Meldrum-Jones also performed a sex act on a boy on a minibus with other pupils present.
The 37-year-old, who assisted with PE, Science and Humanities subjects, had met the teenager at the Warwickshire secondary school she worked at last year. They became close during a school trip and soon afterwards began going for walks together.
Meldrum-Jones of Kineton, Warwickshire, was convicted at Coventry Crown Court, admitting a total of seven charges of sexual activity with a child and inciting sexual activity. She also sent "highly sexualised" texts to the teenagers.
The court heard how Meldrum-Jones first performed a sex act on the boy on a minibus in the presence of other pupils. She then performed oral sex on him and "encouraged him" to perform acts on her the next day in a secluded place.
Then, on a 10-hour flight from South Africa to England, the court heard how she performed sex acts a number of times "under the cover of darkness". The offences came to light in February after rumours circulating about her conduct were reported to police.
For the crown, Stefan Kolodynski said she had sent the boy text messages afterwards containing "conversation geared towards arranging further sexual congress".
Jailing her, Judge Philip Gregory said, according to The Sun: "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 in 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."
Mitigating, defence lawyer Simon Hunka said Meldrum-Jones' behaviour was "unbelievable in its riskiness" and may have been linked to depression or her mental state at the time.