A TEACHER has appeared in court accused of a string of historic child sex offences relating to one of her teenage pupils.

Kim Connor, of Blyton Lane, Salford, denies 12 offences, dating back to 2004, including charges of sexually touching a girl and inciting the same girl to perform sexual acts.

The 45-year-old was suspended from her job as head of performing arts at St Monica's RC High School in Prestwich, before her first court appearance in May 2019.

Appearing at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester on the first day of what is expected to be a four day trial, Connor listened as Darren Preston, prosecuting, described how the teenage victim was 13 when she began attending a performing arts school in Salford around the same time as Connor began working there.

The two became close and Connor began to offer the teenager private tuition at her home address on a Thursday evening.

Mr Preston said: "When in her mid-teens she (the victim) had difficulty coming to terms with her sexuality and was not sure if she was gay."

Mr Preston said that Connor kissed the girl on the lips when she was 14 "in a chaste way" but the situation began to develop and the two began to regularly meet and text each other.

The relationship began to become sexual and "stopped being just pecks on the cheek" and the girl would stay overnight at Connor's home when she was 14 with the full knowledge of her parents who trusted the teacher.

Mr Preston said that as far as the younger girl thought the pair were in a relationship and would go out to restaurants together as well as attending concerts and going shopping at the Trafford Centre.

However, when they were out in public, Connor would warn the girl she could not tell anyone they were together and that there should be "no overt signs of affection."

If asked, she was to say she was 21 and she warned her that she might have to "push her away".

"She knew full well what she was doing was wrong," said Mr Preston, who added that the teenager was "besotted" with Connor, but was "never allowed to show affection".

He said that in April 2004, the 14-year-old's grandmother was diagnosed with a terminal illness and Connor was "extremely supportive" but it was also around this time that she would "test boundaries" and in October 2004, by which time she was 15, the relationship became "more intense and sexual".

The pair began to kiss more and Connor started to touch the girl sexually and encouraged her to do the same to her.

By early 2005 sexual activity was taking place regularly and at one point showed the teenager a safe in her house containing various sex toys.

The girl left the performing arts school when she was 16 but the relationship continued until she was 18 and had begun attending the University of Salford. They separated with the "realisation this was not an equal relationship", said Mr Preston.

"While the defendant never did anything she (the victim) did not consent to, the reality is that this was an abusive relationship," added Mr Preston. "She was vulnerable and the defendant exploited the fact she was only 14 when the relationship started."

The trial continues.