A FORMER teacher who abused schoolgirls over a six year period has been jailed today.

Sean Jack Aldridge, who was a teacher at Warblington School in Havant at the time of the abuse, was convicted of 25 counts of non-recent sex offences including sexual activity with a child, and abusing his position of trust to engage in sexual activity with a child.

The 37-year-old, of Edmund Road in Southsea, was sentenced to 12 years in prison at the same court today. He has also been placed on the sex offenders register.

The allegations related to four girls who were pupils at the school. The jury were unable to reach verdicts on a further two counts following the three-week trial at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Following the result, Detective Inspector Toby Elcock said: “Children attend school with an expectation that they will be safe in the hands of staff who are in charge of their care.

“Sean Aldridge was trusted, as a professional, to ensure their safety but he did not. He abused this trust and groomed these young girls into engaging in a wholly inappropriate sexual relationship with him.

“He tried to silence them to guarantee that his predatory behaviour was never discovered, and for some years he succeeded.

“Aldridge had such a hold on the girls that they did not feel able to report what was happening to them when police spoke with two of the victims back in 2010 and 2012.

“However, thanks to the bravery of those girls, who are now grown women, that silence was broken. They have reclaimed their voices, and today’s guilty verdicts are testament to their courage.

“This was a challenging investigation completed by our Operation Marmion team, who specialise in bringing offenders of non-recent child sexual abuse to justice.

“I hope the women in this case can now get closure, and I hope that these verdicts help others who have suffered similar abuse find the confidence to come forward and speak to the police, knowing that their voices will be heard.”