You may remember Caroline Berriman – the teaching assistant who was spared jail despite admitting to having frequent sex with a 15-year-old pupil.
As reported by the Manchester Evening News, she was initially handed a suspended two year sentence but that was quashed by the Court of Appeal today, who deemed that punishment too lenient following complaints from the public and a local MP, and instead slapped her with a two year prison sentence.
Berriman, 30, who worked at the Abraham Moss Community School in north Manchester, started a relationship with the teenage boy last year while she was a classroom assistant there. She was suspended when the allegations were first made and has now left the school.
It’s alleged they had sex up to 80 times and the relationship only stopped when she became pregnant and had a termination. As the student was not yet 16 at the time, he was not legally able to consent.
Berriman pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child and a further charge of sexual activity with a child by a person in a position of trust at her original trial in September. It was there she was handed the suspended sentence, which has now been quashed, alongside 250 hours of community work.
After today’s ruling, in a statement, the Attorney General’s office said:
Caroline Berriman, who worked as a trusted classroom assistant, groomed and then took advantage of a teenage boy, plainly abusing that position of trust. I referred the case to the Court of Appeal because the original sentence failed to fully reflect the ages of the defendant and the victim.
I am therefore pleased the Court of Appeal today imposed a two-year immediate prison term on Berriman which should reassure the public and send out a strong message that teenagers of both genders have a legal right to be protected from grooming and sexual interference.
The teenager, who did not attend court for the hearings, has now left the school.