A TEACHER has been sent to prison for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl with autism.

Richard Hill, aged 65, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child and was sent to prison for 12 months at Worcester Crown Court last week.

Giles Nelson, prosecuting, said the two offences took place in Herefordshire in summer 2013, when Hill was 60.

Hill, of Blorenge Road, Abergavenny, had built up trust with the girl and also her family, Mr Nelson said.

In summer 2013 he took the victim to a car park in Herefordshire at around 6.30pm in his car.

He tried to kiss her and put his tongue in her mouth. The victim said she was scared and confused.

Mr Nelson said: "This is an extremely vulnerable individual. She then saw the defendant behaving normally in front of her mother as if nothing had happened. It was very hard to understand."

In September of the same year Hill took her out in his car and drove into the countryside.

They sat on a bench and Hill pulled her onto his lap. He kissed her neck and rubbed her body over her clothing.

It wasn't until she was 17 that she told someone she trusted about what had happened.

Hill retired from being a teacher in 2014.

The court heard a pre-sentence report had been carried out and Hill appeared to deny what had happened during the report meeting.

Judge Jim Tindal said: "What does surprise me is that someone of this man's intelligence is trying to weasel his way out of it with the probation service. It dissipates any source of remorse in his plea."

In Hill's defence, Jason Aris, said he thinks his client got cold feet in front of the probation service and that he stands by his pleas.

Hill had no relevant previous convictions. Mr Aris said there had been no further offending behaviour since 2013 and he was in a stable relationship.

He added: "For whatever reason he has appeared to completely lost all his sense of identity and engaged in a course of conduct which is completely unbecoming of his character."

Judge Tindal said the defendant abused the trust placed in him. He said the second offence meant he would be sent to prison. He said: "This was the opportunity you took to manhandle her in a secluded area."

Judge Tindal said: "Here, we are concerned with the specific targeting of a particularly vulnerable child, not only because of the grooming behaviour, but also her disability."

Hill was given 12 months in prison, put on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years and given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for at least five years.