Old Bailey
Teacher Stuart Kerner was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trustGetty

A married teacher who was found guilty of having an affair with one of his pupils has walked free from court after a judge ruled it was the 16-year-old who "groomed" him.

Stuart Kerner, 44, was found guilty of having sex with the girl at Bexleyheath Academy in south-east London, including taking her virginity on a yoga mat in an empty room at the school in the same week his wife suffered a miscarriage.

During the trial at Inner London Crown Court, the jury heard how he began an 18-month affair with the pupil, who cannot be named for legal reasons, until they were discovered in 2013.

Kerner, of Aylesford in Kent, was found guilty last month of two counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust.

He was handed an 18-month suspended sentence after Judge Joanna Greenberg QC ruled the victim had "groomed" him and there was no evidence Kerner initiated the affair.

She said: "She pursued you. Her friends said she was stalking you. She hung around where she would be near you. She had been obsessed with you for a long time.

"If grooming is the right word to use, it was she who groomed you, [and] you gave in to temptation."

She added: "There is no evidence you encouraged her in any way. There is no evidence you groomed her. If anything it was she who groomed you. You gave way to temptation at a time when you were emotionally vulnerable because of problems with your wife's pregnancy."

Greenberg did remind Kerner that the young girl was still a victim in this case.

"The law demands that you are the responsible adult and that you show restraint, and we know that you failed to do so," she said.

Kerner was cleared of four counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust and two counts of sexual activity with a child, which reportedly relate to when the victim was 15.