A PRIMARY school headteacher who sexually groomed a studious 16-year-old girl has ruined her dreams of getting into a top university, a court heard.

John Stubbins, 44, a married father-of-two, started a relationship with the teenager and exchanged indecent pictures with her.

Police became involved after the affair was uncovered, and Stubbins, who taught in County Durham is now starting a 26-month prison sentence.

The court heard how police recovered 5,500 messages sent between the pair from a social media mobile phone app, including 17 indecent images.

Sobbing as she gave an emotional victim impact statement at Durham Crown Court, the girl’s mother said: “She used to be a straight A student unfortunately her dream of going to one university has been shattered. She failed the interview after receiving poor exam results.

“Stubbins has had such a massive impact on her. She thought she could trust him.

“Teachers are people that young people should be able to trust.”

The court was told the victim had not been a student at Stubbins’ school, and was 16 when the offending took place after he developed a “self-destructive infatuation” with her.

Stubbins, of St Cuthbert’s Road, Gateshead, had previously admitted to two counts of sexual exploitation, one of possessing an indecent image of category B, and another of possessing 16 category C indecent images of the teenager.

Peter Walsh, mitigating said: “He recognizes what he has done wrong and made full expressions of remorse.”

Judge Jonathan Carroll jailed Stubbins for two years and two months and ordering him to register as a sex offender for the next ten years.

He said: “Young people are the future of the nation.

“Society depends on teachers and society needs the best of us to come forward as teachers at our schools.

“It is a privilege to hold that trust, and you abused it in a way that would truly offend and shock any right-thinking person.”

The judge said the defendant would have been aware that the offences, which occurred between February and March 2017, were potentially “career ending”.

He said: “You knew what you were doing.

“It might be that taking that risk was part of the thrill.”

Stubbins will also be the subject or a sexual harm prevention order and a restraining order for five years.

A spokesman for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said: “These are sickening child sex offences committed by a man whose job it was to safeguard and protect young people.”