Jury fails to reach verdict in child sex trial of former-Sunderland teacher

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A JURY has failed to reach verdicts in the trial of an acclaimed headteacher who was accused of having sex with a 13-year-old in the late 1980s.

Anne Lakey, 54, from Stanley, County Durham, denied four counts of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child, which were said to have happened when she was in her late 20s.

The jury, which deliberated at Durham Crown Court for 10 hours, was discharged by Judge Christopher Prince after the panel failed to agree verdicts.

Prosecutor Caroline Goodwin indicated that the Crown would be seeking a retrial.

The complainant, who was not a pupil of the defendant, wrote an accusing email to her school in December 2012 after he came across a web page on which she said her aim was to give young people the best start in life.

That led him to write that she was a “disgusting sexual monster” who had sex with him when he was only 13.

The school called in the police and Lakey, who taught at Sunderland’s Sandhill View School at the time of the allegations, was suspended from her role.

He claimed they played a dare game at her home and she allowed him to fondle her breasts. Later, he would chat to her as she bathed, he told the jury, and after one such occasion, he said they had sex while he was still in his school uniform.

The complainant said their relationship continued for several months, and claimed she rang his school, pretending to be his mother, to say he was ill when he played truant to be with her. The prosecution alleged Mrs Lakey, who was then a history teacher, groomed the boy, who was one of a group of teenagers who would visit her marital home.

Mrs Lakey, married to husband David for 20 years, strongly denied all the allegations against her and thought the accusing email was a hoax when she heard about it.

A character witness said Mrs Lakey had been described as a “visionary leader” by the Department for Education after she oversaw massive improvement at one school.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector of education, said she was “inspiring”, and she was appointed on the National Leaders of Education body which helps struggling schools.