A FORMER music teacher has been jailed for two years after having affairs with two teenage pupils at the school where he worked.

Richard Knight, of Worcester, groomed the two pupils at Bromsgrove School before progressing to a sexual relationship, and often neglected to wear a condom, a court heard.

Judge Jeremy Baker QC, speaking at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, told Knight, 53, the two victims had “particularly vulnerable” emotional backgrounds.

“You knew that and that was why they were specifically targeted over and above other children at school,” he said.

The judge went on to say he was “satisfied your conduct was wholly inappropriate” and described Knight’s behaviour as “predatory” and that there was a “significant degree of planning”.

The defendant, also previously the conductor of Malvern Festival Chorus, had begun the second affair after the first one ended, but had taught both pupils at the school.

Prosecutor Simon Foster said Knight had had sex with one of the victims for the first time at her own home while her parents were out on Christmas Eve.

With that same victim, he had never worn a condom and she would often have to ride her bicycle to various pharmacists to get morning after pills.

The defendant had sex with both girls on school property as well as at his own home and in his car, as well as on a holiday in New York with one.

With the first victim, Judge Baker said he reassured her at the time with a “false picture” of his marriage, which he claimed was coming to an end.

The court heard that Knight was having sex with the first victim between 2008 and 2010.

The judge said “when she left school” he “moved” his attentions to his second victim who he had sex with between 2011 and 2012.

The affairs came to light when Knight’s then- wife became suspicious and he eventually admitted that he had had sex with the first victim.

She did not, however, alert the police until 2017 when he denied having had the first affair.

The second affair then came to light and Knight was arrested on February 1, 2018 where he admitted to having had sex with both girls.

The court heard that Knight’s wife had also been a pupil at a school while he was working there, and they married in 2002, before separating in 2010 when she discovered the first affair.

In a statement read out in court, one of the victims said Knight had given her “confidence” but she could see now “he had taken advantage of the situation”.

She said she became more and more isolated and now feels “embarrassed” about how easily he manipulated her.

“He had abused his position of trust to fulfil his own desires,” she continued.

“I was a child and he manipulated me, but I feel guilty due to my part in ending [Knight’s wife’s] marriage.”

She said she had felt “angry” but now “I feel sorry for him” – but emphasised that he “never forced me to do anything”.

“I would like him to seek help and move on from this chapter in his life,” she added.

The other victim described how the relationship started with emails and texts, then kissing before more “intimate moments” took place.

She said she lost friends due to the relationship because she didn’t want them to find out.

“I was struggling to discover who I was in my woman’s body,” she said. “I thought I loved him and he loved me.”

She said Knight manipulated her “into believing I needed him to function”.

“I was led to believe that sex was the only area of life that I excelled,” she added.

In a statement, also read out in court, Knight said he “fell in love with both these girls”.

Sam Lansdale, defending, asked the judge to give her client a suspended sentence and said “his career is clearly at an end”.

Knight left his £55,000-a-year job at Bromsgrove School last year, and Miss Lansdale said he now earns only £17,000 as working for examining board AQA, in a role where he is not in contact with pupils.

Knight moved from Worcester in July and now lives in Lynworth Lane, Twinning, Tewkesbury.

Miss Lansdale said her client had had an isolated upbringing – the youngest of several children of strict Christian parents.

His only social activity growing up was at church on a Sunday, she said, and he found it hard to make friends at an all-boys boarding school before going to the University of Oxford for a music scholarship.

He accepted two charges of sexual activity with children aged between 13 and 17 when appearing at Kidderminster Magistrates' Court in October.

As well as the prison sentence, a sexual prevention order has been put in place for 10 years, preventing him from having unsupervised contact with girls under the age of 16.