Eastbourne school caretaker sacked over relationship with teenage girl

Councillor Stuart Towner
Councillor Stuart Towner

A school caretaker has been sacked over an “inappropriate relationship” with a teenage pupil at Bede’s.

Stuart Towner lost his job at Bede’s School, Upper Dicker, and the house that went with it when his relationship with the girl, now 17, was discovered.

In addition, Mr Towner, a Wealden and Hailsham Town Council councillor, has been suspended by local Conservatives for being convicted of drink driving.

Mr Towner said this week he did not want to comment on either matter.

Bede’s, an independent boarding school, issued a statement saying Mr Towner had been sacked for breaching school rules on safeguarding although no criminal offence had been committed.

A spokesperson at the school said, “Stuart Towner was employed by the school from August 2012 until March 2013 when he was dismissed for an inappropriate relationship with a sixth form student who is 17 years old.

“We worked closely with the police and social services who advised us that this was not a criminal matter and that we should conduct our own internal investigation which subsequently led to Mr Towner’s dismissal.

Mr Towner, who headed up the Town Farm resident’s Association and won a TV vote for Big Lottery Funding of a play park at the Maurice Thornton playing fields, appeared in court recently over drink driving allegations.

The 38-year-old was found to be twice over the legal blood alcohol limit when he was stopped by police near Eastbourne.

A Wealden council spokesman said he remained a councillor because his relationship with the girl did not break the law and the punishment for his drink-driving offence was not heavy enough to trigger automatic disqualification.

The court was told that since his sacking, his marriage had broken up.

Towner, who admitted driving while over the legal alcohol limit, was fined £100 and banned from driving for 20 months.