Reception class teacher, now 37, is cleared of abusing four-year-old girl after being jailed for four years for sex assaults on two other young children
A reception class teacher convicted in 2018 of sexually assaulting two young girls was yesterday cleared of abusing a third child.
Alexander Eldridge, now 37, was alleged to have touched the four-year-old girl at a school in East Hertfordshire in 2017.
Eldridge, who now lives in Street, Somerset, denied four charges of sexual assault of a child aged under 13 between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017 and was cleared at St Albans Crown Court.
The jury heard he denied touching that girl and that he maintains he was wrongly convicted in 2018 of offences against the other two children.
Prosecutor Michael Williams said Eldridge was the reception class teacher from 2011 until his suspension in 2017 when the first complaint was made.
The girl in this week’s case said nothing until December 2020, three years later, when she told her mother, who called the police.
Alexander Eldridge, 37, had already been jailed for four years for sex abuse on two children
When questioned, Eldridge denied ever touching the girl.
He was jailed for four years in 2018 for abusing two youngsters.
In May 2017 Eldridge sent a text to parents to say that the following day there would be a break from lessons and instead they would have a ‘water day’.
The children were told to bring in clothes to get wet in, as well as a towel.
Was cleared of a new charge of touching a another four-year-old girl at school in 2017
The head teacher of the school in East Hertfordshire had agreed, in the belief that the water day would serve as some educational purpose in relation to the maths curriculum.
The children changed and went outside to play in a paddling pool, on a slide, with buckets and a bubble making machine.
When the session was over, Eldridge went back to his classroom, where no other staff were around, and helped a five-year-old girl to get changed.
Alone with the youngster, he sexually assaulted her.
Alexander Eldridge also secretly filmed up the skirt of another young girl while she sat on his lap.
Passing sentence at St Albans crown court, Judge Stephen Warner told the 33-year-old: ‘These offences involved a gross breach of trust.
‘As a primary school teacher for these children, their parents entrusted them to your safekeeping.’
The judge added: ‘It’s quite clear you had an inappropriate sexual interest in girls of this age and girls older – teenage girls.’