A teacher who fantasised about molesting children has been jailed for attacking a girl.

Kevin Lomas — who ran the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Didcot before his arrest — has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

Oxford Crown Court heard that he had admitted harbouring desires for children for years.

The 48-year-old, of Blakes Field, Didcot, admitted four charges of sexual activity with a child and one of indecent exposure.

Lomas has also taught at schools but has now been banned from ever working with children.

Judge Terence Maher said he was disturbed Lomas thought the victim was interested in him.

He told him: "What's particularly alarming is that you appear to be of the view in some way she was showing some form of interest in you.

"It has shaken her confidence in grown-ups. It may be some time before she can put this behind her."

Referring to probation officers' interviews with Lomas, Judge Maher said: "There is a significant risk of serious harm, because of your exploration...of the desires which you have felt towards young children for a good number of years."

The education centre, based in Broadway, opened in 2005 and provided tuition in academic subjects outside school hours.

It is no longer open, but a spokesman for Kip McGrath refused to say when it closed or for what reason.

The spokesman said the company had checked Lomas's criminal record before he was employed.

He added: "Mr Lomas had been teaching in a centre for over five years and in schools previously."

Community leaders and people working near the education centre expressed their shock at the case.

Capt John Flood, leader of Didcot Town Council, said: "I'm disgusted. I'm surprised that it happened and that no-one seems to know anything about it.

"I'm pleased that he got caught out but I'm obviously disgusted that it should have happened."

One shop worker near the centre, who did not want to be named, said: "It closed a few months ago. This is quite a surprise and a bit of a shock."

Lomas was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years when he was sentenced on Friday.

Det Sgt Angela Murray, of the Oxfordshire child abuse investigation unit, said she believed the case was a one-off, and Lomas had not abused any other children.

She added: "He has ended up in prison, while his victim was not only subjected to the trauma of the initial abuse but the strain of going through the whole investigative process to achieve this conviction.

"We would like to thank her and her family for supporting our proceedings, which wasn't easy for them.

"Hopefully, this sentencing will mean they can move on and get on with their lives."