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 Schoolgirl, 13, 'killed herself after secret affair with air cadet instructor three times her age'

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Registration date : 2009-01-03

PostSubject: Schoolgirl, 13, 'killed herself after secret affair with air cadet instructor three times her age'   Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:49 am

Schoolgirl, 13, 'killed herself after secret affair with air cadet instructor three times her age'

Last updated at 2:21 AM on 18th February 2009

An air cadet aged 13 killed herself after having a sexual relationship with her 39-year-old flying instructor, a court heard yesterday.

Cherrell Evans was found hanged in her bedroom within months of the affair starting, the jury was told.

After her death, a 15-year-old friend went to police and claimed they had both slept with Air Training Corps leader Paul Nicholls.

He had an 'unhealthy attraction to young girls', the jury was told.

uicide: Cherrell Evans, 13, committed suicide after an alleged sexual affair with 39-year-old Nicholls

The teenager told police Nicholls was initially a 'father figure' but said her younger friend became scared when he wanted them both sexually.

She revealed she had slept with Nicholls ten times over two months in 2007 before he allegedly moved on to Cherrell.

Yesterday a court heard that, before Cherrell's death at her home in Tonypandy, South Wales, Nicholls had sent a text message suggesting he wanted both the girls to have sex with him in an apparent threesome.

He allegedly wrote: 'I know one is better than none. But now I prefer two.'

Nicholls is accused of having sexual relationships with the two cadets while running an air school in South Wales between June and August 2007.

Accused: Air Training Corps leader Paul Nicholls denies having sexual relationships with underage girls

Referring to the 15-year-old, prosecutor Jennet Treharne told Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court: 'The girl cadet said a sexual relationship had developed between Nicholls and her.

'She said she did not tell anyone in authority what was happening at the time. But she came forward after fellow cadet and close friend Cherrell took her own life.

'She claimed that Cherrell had also been having a sexual relationship with Nicholls and it was her belief his conduct towards Cherrell caused her to take her own life.'

Miss Treharne added: 'She said she didn't want to tell anyone at the time that they were having the affair because Nicholls told her it would ruin everything.'

Miss Treharne said Nicholls exploited the 15-year-old's vulnerability as he allegedly pursued her.

She said: 'Her father was living away and that vulnerability was recognised by the defendant who befriended her and groomed her into starting a sexual relationship.'

The 15-year-old girl, who has now turned 16, gave video evidence to police a month after Cherrell's death in December 2007.

She told officers: 'Either she planned to do it or she planned to try, get stopped and have someone listen to her.

'Because now Cherrell is gone I have got to do this alone.

'She shouldn't have had to die for people to realise what was happening. We were going through it together.'

She added: 'You see him as a monster who destroyed us but we don't see him in that light. We really didn't.

'He was always there for us and it was the same for Cherrell. My dad has gone and her dad had gone too - she was like a younger version of me.

'Paul was a shoulder to cry on, basically your reason to carry on. I met Cherrell in cadets but we started seeing each other outside as well.

'The reason Cherrell and I got closer was because we were going through the same thing - Paul. I saw him as a father figure and he knew that. He is old enough to be my father and he knows it.

'He was trying to get me to do stuff with Cherrell but we were like, "No". That is when she started to get scared because he wanted us both.'

Police were told Nicholls had sex with the 15-year-old cadet in his bedroom, his living room and in his car parked on a mountain.

Miss Treharne said: 'Nicholls has a propensity for sexual relationships with young girls.

'Both these girls were vulnerable cadets in his charge who he invited to stay at his house.

'Another cadet said he touched her inappropriately when she was having her uniform fitted. He had an unhealthy attraction to girls much younger than himself.'

The court heard Cherrell's mother found text messages on her daughter's phone from Nicholls shortly before she died.

After seeing the messages she called the Air Training Corps where Nicholls worked and complained to his senior officer.

Nicholls, of Maerdy, Rhondda, South Wales, denies three charges of sexual activity and one charge of attempting sexual activity with a 15-year-old.

The trial continues.

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Schoolgirl, 13, 'killed herself after secret affair with air cadet instructor three times her age'
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