- Thomas Stirling sent explicit messages and read Fifty Shades with a teen pupil
- He claimed he was comparing 'grammar and content' of the novel to Macbeth
- His girlfriend later found the messages and 'compromising' photos on his phone
- Stirling, who taught in Grimsby, admitted causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
Thomas Stirling (pictured outside court), 24, sent 'highly sexually charged' messages to a teenage virgin pupil after they read Fifty Shades of Grey together
A creative writing teacher who sent 'highly sexually charged' messages to a teenage virgin pupil after they read Fifty Shades of Grey together has been spared jail.
Thomas Stirling, 24, claimed he was comparing the 'grammar and content' of the erotic novel with Shakespeare's Macbeth when he read it with the 17-year-old.
But the teacher was caught when his then girlfriend, 18, logged onto his Instagram account and found a cache of 'compromising' photos and 'explicit' messages to the teen.
They included references to her virginity and sexual acts - with an 'element of fantasy' to them.
Stirling, who taught at Franklin College, Grimsby, has now admitted causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity while he was in a position of authority between September 1 and November 17, 2015.
Prosecutor Jeremy Evans told Grimsby Crown Courtthat Stirling had sent 'highly sexually charged' messages to a girl who was aged 17 at the time.
He taught creative writing at at the time but was suspended when the allegations came to light and subsequently sacked.
The court heard how Stirling's girlfriend found out about the relationship when she logged on to his Instagram account.
She then discovered 'intimate' and 'sexually explicit' messages between Stirling and the girl. They included references to her virginity and sexual acts and there was an 'element of fantasy' to them, the court heard.
Patricia Doherty, mitigating, said Stirling accepted that he should not have befriended the girl.
'He had some problems of his own in the past and foolishly and naively thought that he could help her,' said Mrs Doherty.
'He realises he can never be a teacher and that all those years in education are wasted.'
The court was told how the messages were exchanged weeks before the pupil's 18th birthday.
'Had these messages started later, then he would not be in the dock and his life would not have been ruined, as it has been,' said Mrs Doherty.
She added that there had been 'nothing sexual' between them.
Referring to their reading of Fifty Shades of Grey, she said: 'They were looking at the grammar and content of that sort of book, which was the opposite of something like Macbeth.'
Ms Doherty said Stirling was now working as a receptionist at a hotel in Derbyshire and had interviews for sales representative jobs.
'He knows that he can't go back into teaching at all,' she added.
The teenager was just weeks away at the time from her 18th birthday.
Recorder Eric Elliott QC told Stirling: 'She was having certain personal and domestic problems. You, very misguidedly and perhaps naively, thought you could help her.
'You knew full well, bearing in mind you were a teacher in a position of trust, that you ought not to go down that road.
He said that, although there was no physical sexual contact between the pair, it was a 'significant breach of trust'.
Stirling, of Bakewell, Derbyshire, was given 15 days' rehabilitation and must do a sex offenders' treatment programme.
He was ordered to register as a sex offender for five years.
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