A PRIVATE prep school whose matron paid a 12-year-old boy for sex with Mars bars tried to cover up the matter by not informing police at the time, a court heard.

Tiffany Carter, 46, had sex with the pupil when she got into bed with him after "lights out" while working as a junior matron at St Andrew's Prep School in Eastbourne, the court was told.

The boy, who cannot be named, also went to her room for sex, Lewes Crown Court heard.

His mother only learned about the abuse when she got a tearful call from the teen worried that he'd caught AIDS, jurors were told.

But the school in Meads Street - which currently charges £22,000 a year for boarders - pressured the mother not to take the matter to police, she claimed.

The mother told the court: 'We talked about taking him home, but the school was advising that we shouldn't. The conversation suggested he would be better kept in the normal environment.

'He wanted to stay in school as well, but it was my instinct as a mother to go and pick him up.

'I didn't get the name of the woman. The school wanted to keep it confidential.

'They said it was best for it not to be expanded any further or legal proceedings taken because my son was about to go to college.

'My husband wanted to go to the police at the time. But because she had left their school I just wanted to make sure she

no longer worked with children again. I was very upset and emotional at that time.

'I don't know how long the abuse went on, but it happened nearly a year before he told me. He said he went up to watch TV in the matron's room and that seemed to me to be wrong.

'I didn't understand why he was in her room. This was such a long time ago. My husband and I always wanted closure for my son.'

The court heard the victim began a civil law suit against the school in 2015.

Carter, who at the time of the alleged offences was known as Tiffany Poole, was arrested in October 2014 after a solicitor acting for the

victim called Sussex Police.

A statement made by her to detectives when she was arrested was read to the court.

She said: 'I do remember the boy. He had a crush on me. He used to give me cuddly toys. The other matrons used to tell me I had to be firmer with the boys. I never invited any boys into my room.

'My job was to make sure the boys washed and cleaned their teeth in the morning and evenings.

'I was never on my own with any of the boys. I don't know why any of these allegations have been made.

'I was not sexually active until I was with my first boyfriend at the age of 19.'

DC Phil Cracknell, of Sussex Police, said Carter looked "shocked" when he went to arrest her at her home.

Carter, of Eastbourne, denies three counts of gross indecency with a child and two charges of indecent assault of a boy aged under 14 between September 1986 and April 1987.

The trial continues.