PE teacher ‘tickled’ girls during swimming lessons

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A PE teacher has been given a suspended prison sentence after a jury found him guilty of touching young girls at the school where he worked.

Giles Rickett, of Woodhall Farm, Hemel Hempstead, was found guilty by a jury of four counts of sexual activity with a child while in a position of trust.

He was acquitted, however, of seven similar offences.

The 40-year-old, of Cleves Road, was given an eight-month jail term suspended for two years.

On Thursday at St Albans Crown Court, Judge Stephen Gullick told him his name will be added to the sex offenders’ register for the next 10 years.

Rickett, a married man and department head and form tutor at a school in St Albans, touched the youngsters inappropriately during sport sessions.

His victims were in their early teens and the charges he faced during the trial covered a period from 2010 to 2011.

Prosecutor Miss Mary Loram said at the start of the trial: “He is a good teacher, liked and respected by teachers and pupils alike. He is married. It also seems there is another side to him because this trial is about abuse of younger girls who were at the school.”

Throughout the trial the prosecution’s case had been that the abuse was not of the most serious kind and she said it was quick touching of the youngsters.

The jury were told that the defendant took swimming lessons for the pupils and there would be an element of horseplay where he chased the girls and tickled them.

Miss Loran described the teacher’s actions as “opportunistic groping,” and the sort an older more mature woman might have even been able to laugh off.

But she went on: “They are not adults, they are children.”

The jury heard that matters came to light after one of the girls spoke to her mother, who immediately went to the school.