THE head of English at Stonyhurst College has resigned after having an illicit affair with a sixth-form pupil he ‘fell in love with’.

Married father-of-three Dr Terence Anthony Bell, 46, has been put on the Sex Offenders’ Register after appearing in court yesterday.

He admitted breaching a position of trust by inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity.

Dr Terence Bell’s affair with the girl was discovered last week when another pupil found her sitting on his knee during evening duty.

He was meant to be looking after boarders at the time, the court heard.

Scott Ainge, prosecuting, said matters were brought to the attention of Social Services and the police after they were spotted on the evening of September 20.

Another pupil entered a room at the Hurst Green school, where the girl was a boarder, and saw her sitting astride Bell and they were kissing. His shirt was undone and his glasses had been removed.

Interviewed by police, Bell admitted having a relationship with the girl, the court heard.

He told how he first met her when she started as a sixth form boarder and he quickly recog-nised her as an extremely gifted student who shared his passion for English.

He told police the relationship ‘deepened gently and progressed slowly’. As part of her tuition the girl had one-to-one sessions with Bell and they realised there was a mutual attraction.

On her birthday he gave her a hug and sent her an e-mail and he said the relationship was becom-ing stronger, Mr Ainge said.

On Bell’s birthday, in June, she had bought him a present and he said that was the day they shared their first kiss.

“From June onwards there was ongoing and inappropriate cont-act between them,” said Mr Ainge. “He said he had initiated all the contact and he told her that he loved her.”

During the summer holidays the girl went back to her parents’ home and he arranged by e-mail to go and see her.

“They went into some woods where they had sexual contact,” said Mr Ainge. “He said there was no question of a full sexual relationship as he felt that would have been the final betrayal of his wife.”

Bell told police of a dream he had where he had enjoyed a candlelit dinner with the girl and he had acted on that dream on the night they were caught together.

He was on duty on the Sunday evening and had prepared a meal for her.

“He accepts that after the meal they were kissing and cuddling when the other student walked in on them,” said Mr Ainge.

He said that loving the girl was not fundamentally wrong and told officers: “Love is a very powerful thing”, the court heard.

Mr Ainge said the girl had not provided a statement and it was accepted she had been a willing participant in the relationship.

During the court hearing, at Blackburn Magistrates’ Court, details of Bell’s resignation from Stockport Grammar were revea-led.

A reference suggested he would deserve a second chance, but that would probably be best in a boys’ school. He was appointed to Stonyhurst in 1994.

County council cabinet member for children and schools, Pat Case, questioned the decision.

She said: “At the time, the decision to hire him was perfectly legal and, perhaps, it was endeavouring to be compassionate.

“The trouble is with hindsight and the changes in the nature of the school, it has been an inappr-opriate appointment.”

Bell was not appointed by current headteacher And-rew Johnson. He said: “Dr Bell was appointed 15 years ago when guidelines were very different.

“We now carry out, by law, very rigorous checks on any poten-tial employee.

“References are always taken up and any indication of a child protection concern would bar an individaul from employment at Stonyhurst, or any other school.”

Mr Johnson said he and the Stonyhurst community had been saddened by Bell’s admission.

He said: “When an allegation was made about Dr Bell last week, he was immediately suspended from his duties.

“Dr Bell is now no longer working at Stonyhurst.

“The school has followed statutory safeguarding proce-dures, and has co-operated fully with the police and social services.

“We are extremely shocked and deeply saddened at this situation. Stonyhurst believes in the paramount imp-ortance of the safety and well-being of young people. We are provid-ing counselling and pastoral support for the young person concerned. We are also prov-iding support and care for other pupils and staff within the college comm-unity who have been upset by what has happened.” Bell, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to breaching a position of trust by inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity. He was remanded on bail for the preparation of a pre-sentence report, with a warning that custody would remain an option for the sentencing magistrates.

He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register. The length of time he will be on the register will be set at sentencing.

Simon Farnsworth, defending, said that but for the fact his client was a teacher, and in a position of trust, there would not have been an offence.

“Be that as it may, his life is in tatters and he is the first to admit he is the author of his own downfall,” said Mr Farnsworth.

He said the incident at Stockport Grammar had not been prosecuted and Bell had hoped it had been put behind him.

“He has had an unblemished record since he started at Stonyhurst in 1994 and has worked his way up to head of English,” said Mr Farnsworth.

“In his time at the college he has done an awful lot of good, helping a great many students to achieve and further their education.

"He is highly regarded by colleagues who are shocked by these events.”

Mr Farnsworth said Bell was estranged from his wife and three children and had been left homeless.

“He regrets the pain he has caused his family, the parents of the victim, the school and everyone concerned,” said Mr Farnsworth.

“An act of foolishness has led to the end of a career and a marriage.”