Catford tutor accused of sexual assault on pupil, 16, faces retrial after jury fails to reach verdict

Inner London Crown Court. Pic. Stephen Richards

The jury in the trial of  a Lewisham maths tutor who allegedly sexually assaulted her teenage pupil, failed to reach a verdict on Thursday after four and a half hours’ deliberation.

Aveesha Ahsan, 34, of Catford, who denied the alleged sexual assault between October 2015 and June 2016, could now face a retrial of the charges.

The court heard that she was said to have forcibly hugged and kissed the 16-year-old girl, and joked to her pupil about “thrusting”. Ahsan’s defense lawyer, James Lachkovic, argued there was “no sexual contact”.

The jury heard the tutor also offered to buy the girl gifts, including a prom dress and a Kindle, and proposed marriage via WhatsApp messages.

The court heard however that the tutor meant “will you merry me?” not “marry”, blaming a typo for the misunderstanding.

She claimed the proposal was “about friendship” but in the messages between the tutor and her pupil, Ahsan wrote: “Why did I ask you to marry me, do you really think it was to do some disgusting stuff?

“It is just so we can live together and I can talk to you every day. I want to marry you, I cannot live without you, promise I won’t touch you because I know you don’t like it.”

Police confiscated four devices from Ahsan, from which the teacher wrote to her pupil: “My heart becomes restless for you, where are you?” and “you are like my centre of gravity, I am revolving around you.”

Judge Nigel Seed QC discharged the jury on Thursday and gave the Crown Prosecution Service a week to decide whether the tutor should face a retrial, releasing Ahsan on bail until December 7.

Prosecutor Sophie Shotton said: “Messages sent by the defendant included comments about her appearance, comments about her body, requests to hug her, repeated requests to kiss her, a marriage proposal, comments about sex, including a request to do sex with her.

“The Crown say that this conduct by the defendant shows that Miss Ahsan knew that what she was doing was wrong and was not part of any type of normal or, as the Crown say, lawful pupil-teacher relationship.”

The jury heard a recorded interview with the teenager, in which the alleged victim said: “I was very confused. She offered to help me and every teacher has a favourite student and I thought it was like that.”

 

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