Teacher accused of sex with two pupils made 'naked attempt to garner sympathy' with baby bonnet, court hears

A teacher made a "naked attempt to garner sympathy" bringing a baby bonnet to court that belonged to a child fathered by one of the teenagers she is accused of having had sex with, a court heard.

Rebecca Joynes continues to deny allegations that she had sex with one schoolboy, boy A, and insists in court that her relationship with a second teenager, boy B, only began once he had left school and she had been fired from her job - so wasn't illegal.

The 30-year-old appeared in Manchester Crown Court today with a pink baby's bonnet visibly tucked into her trousers.

It belonged to the child she had with boy B.

Talking about the baby bonnet, prosecutor Joe Allman told the jury in his closing speech: "That was a pretty naked attempt to garner your sympathy."

He said jurors would not have a "shred" of sympathy for the teacher if she was a man, and added: "She's aware of the optics here.

"She's not stupid. Is Miss Joynes more shrewd than she lets on?"

Jurors heard that both boys sent Joynes flirty Snapchat messages, and hid the interactions from their parents.

It was alleged that she took boy A shopping and bought him a £350 Gucci belt before they went back to Joynes' flat in Salford Quays, where they had sex, the court was told.

The teenager's semen was recovered from her bedsheets by police.

Boy B claims that sexual activity began when he was 15, with kissing and full sex when he was 16 - and still a pupil.

Joynes denies six counts of sexual activity with a child, including two while being a person in a position of trust.

Mr Allman said that boy B had been accused of "gaslighting" Joynes during their relationship when she became pregnant.

He asked: "Who is being gaslit, and who is doing the gaslighting?

"Is what is going on here, is: she hopes you will treat her very differently because she is a woman and not a man, and you will see this case differently because she's a woman and not a man?"

He also questioned whether the boys would have been "disparaged in the same way in an attempt to discredit them if they were two girls of similar age".

Instead, he said, had Rebecca Joynes been "Robert" Joynes, and the complainants been girls, Mr Allman claimed it would not have been suggested the boys were "up for it" or the ones wanting sex "because that would have been quite obscene".

"It has the effect of warping the picture, so she almost becomes the victim and the boys the perpetrators," he added.

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He asked the jury of seven men and five women to imagine "Robert", a 28-year-old teacher, just out of a nine-year relationship, lonely, good-looking, who schoolgirls pay a lot of attention to, flatter and make inappropriate comments to.

The prosecutor outlined a scenario where the male teacher exchanges Snapchat messages, buys one girl a £350 belt and takes her back to his flat, while a second teenager falls pregnant to "Robert".

"Are you in any doubt about what's happened here?" Mr Allman said.

"You would not have one shred of sympathy for Robert. This thought experiment drags Miss Joynes' defence into the light."

Michael O'Brien, in his closing speech for the defence, said boy A had lied about what had taken place between him and Joynes while boy B had "put the boot in" while being interviewed by detectives.

While meeting students outside school was wrong, he said, it was not a criminal offence.

The trial continues with the jury expected to retire on Thursday morning.