Former music teacher who groomed schoolgirls jailed for 17 years
A former music teacher has been jailed for 17 years after grooming schoolgirls and carrying out sexual relationships with them.
Ben Breakwell, 41, used his position of authority at a London secondary school to sexually exploit three students aged between 13 and 16 at the time. He had inappropriate relationships with two of these pupils. He kissed a third pupil on the lips at the end of a lesson and was found to have taken indecent images of a fourth victim living abroad.
Today (Thursday, 2 December) at Isleworth Crown Court Breakwell was sentenced to 17 years. He must serve at least two thirds of this in custody. Breakwell was also given a sexual harm prevention order with a number of prohibitions.
Following a trial earlier this year he was found guilty of more than 30 sexual offences including 25 counts of sexual activity with a child, three counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, one count of sexual assault and three counts of taking indecent photographs of a child.
During the trial the prosecution was able to present evidence showing Breakwell’s pattern of offending where he would make his first move and then follow this up with a message saying it was completely unexpected, but that he had liked it.
Breakwell was in his early 30s when he began to carry out the illicit relations. Some of the sexual activity took place inside school grounds between 2014 and 2017. On one occasion a victim told Breakwell “this is so illegal,” and he responded, “I know”.
Two victims provided testimony that Breakwell had raised the idea of a threesome with his cleaner.
One victim’s friends became concerned about the inappropriate relationship and reported the matter to the school in September 2017, sparking an investigation. Breakwell was arrested at his flat in west London on 15 November 2017.
Kate Shilton, from the CPS, said: “These victims have shown immense fortitude and resilience in speaking out in these court proceedings. Ben Breakwell was a teacher who should have protected them – but instead he violated them.
“He carried out illegal sexual relationships with two of these schoolgirls. He convinced these victims who were just 13 and 14 at the time, that they were together, special to him and in love with one another. In fact, he was manipulative, and he used his position of trust to groom and exploit these young girls.
“Breakwell has never taken responsibility for his actions and throughout the trial denied any sexual activity took place with the victims. This was despite the phone evidence and corroborating testimony the prosecution was able to present, which detailed the similar accounts of victims who did not know each other.
“I hope these convictions give these victims a sense of closure and encourages other such victims of abuse to come forward and report their attackers to the police in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously. The CPS will always aim to bring these cases to court where there is the evidence to do so.”
Notes to editors
- Ben Breakwell (DOB: 17/10/1980) is from Monkgate in York
- Kate Shilton is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences unit in CPS London South.