Dad of teaching assistant who had sex with teen in Wilko car park stands by her


Hannah Harris, who worked at a school in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, was yesterday found guilty of having sex with the boy in a Wilko supermarket car park

Harris' dad Jason is throwing his weight behind his daughter following the conviction
Harris’ dad Jason is throwing his weight behind his daughter following the conviction

The dad of a teaching assistant convicted for having sex with an underage boy in a supermarket carpark has blasted the verdict, claiming she just wanted to help.

Hannah Harris, who worked at a school in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, was yesterday found guilty of having sex with the boy in a Wilko supermarket car park.

Harris, who is now 23, tricked her teenage victim’s parents into thinking he was seeing a girl of his age by pretending to be the fictional girl’s mother, telling them she lived in Baldock with her daughter Kayla, who she said was their son’s girlfriend.

Harris’ dad Jason is throwing his weight behind his daughter following the conviction and claims the family plan to launch an appeal.

Speaking to the Sun Online, Jason said the family was “not giving up” on Harris, who had their full support.

“I don’t believe what came out in court,” he said. “We are talking to her solicitor at the moment about appealing.

Harris was found guilty at St Albans Crown Court yesterday
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Jason said his daughter shouldn’t have been in the job, as she was too young.

Regardless, she had taken the job as she wanted to help people, he said.

He described his daughter as being “very good natured”.

St Albans Crown Court heard yesterday how Harris told the parents of the boy, known only as Pupil A, that she lived in Baldock with her daughter Kayla, who was their son’s girlfriend. She actually lived in Henlow and Kayla did not exist, reports Bedfordshire Live.

In one text Harris wrote: “Seems Kayla and …(the boy) are getting on well, so I am happy to ferry them around.”

Prosecutor Simon Wilshire said: “Both parents believed they had spoken to Olivia on the phone and his mum had exchanged texts.

“The names Kayla and Olivia were fictions to hide the fact they were meeting up. The parents were in fact talking to Ms Harris as that was the number they had been given for Olivia.”

Harris was caught out in January 2020 when the boy’s older brother found out. The boy admitted ‘Olivia’ and ‘Kayla’ were fictional.

Mr Wilshire said: “When the parents became aware, they realized they had unwittingly facilitated the contact.

“They had been duped by the boy into the belief he was seeing someone of his own age.”

He went on: “As a teaching assistant at his school she (Harris) would have known his age – such activity is a criminal offense regardless of whether he believed himself to be a willing party.”

Harris, from Harrier Mill, Henlow, denied four charges of sexual activity with a child in December 2019 and January 2020.

She was convicted by a jury majority of 10 to two of having sex with the boy in a Wilko supermarket car park. She was cleared of three other charges of sexual activity with him.

These were alleged to have taken place twice on Dunstable Downs and once at her home.

Harris was first employed in 2018 in the IT department at the school, and moved to become a teaching assistant in 2019.

When questioned by the police, she claimed the first contact was initiated when he sent her an Instagram message. She said she stupidly replied and communication continued until she agreed to meet him outside school hours.

After the verdict, defense barrister Julia Flanagan said Harris was now in a stable relationship. She said there had been concerns for her mental health, but she had returned to working in IT.

Judge Caroline Wigin bailed Harris, who was raised in the dock, for sentence on 9 March. She must abide by a curfew between 7pm and 7am.

The judge said she will also have to register as a sex offender and told her: “The sentence is inevitably going to be custody.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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