A CHESHIRE teacher cleared of having a sexual relationship with a pupil said she knew she was putting herself at risk when she continued to help the deeply disturbed teenager.
The married mother-of-two Theresa McKenzie, 39, of Meifod, Powys, and formerly of Chester Road, Kelsall. had faced seven counts of sexual activity with a child in a position of trust.
On Thursday the jury of seven men and five women at Chester Crown Court returned a unanimous not guilty verdict after just an hour of deliberation.
Mrs McKenzie was in tears when the not guilty verdicts were read out.
It was alleged she started a relationship with the 16- year old after she became the victim’s key worker at a Cheshire special needs school. The teenager had told the court that what started as flirting, kissing and touching soon progressed to sexual acts and full intercourse at regular meetings.
The prosecution had told the court she had sent love letters to the boy one said ‘I love you forever’, followed by a drawn love heart and more than 30 kisses. Mrs McKenzie maintained that the letters were part of a school project the letters were based on words used in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and it was a way to boost the confidence of a boy who frequently had suicidal thoughts.
The court had heard how the teenager had become infatuated and obsessed with Mrs McKenzie following her around the school and acting up if she wasn’t in the classroom.
In a statement after the hearing she said: "I am extremely grateful to the jury for seeing the truth of the situation I was in.
"I was dealing with a deeply disturbed and suicidal teenager who demanded exceptional care and support, I gave him the attention he deserved in his desperate predicament.
"I knew that I was exposing myself to the risk of false accusation. I persevered because I was able to distract him from taking his own life.
“This case demonstrates the risk that dedicated and committed teachers are prepared to take every day."