It was an affair between a 36-year-old carer and a vulnerable teenage boy which ruined her career and sparked a police inquiry.
Louise McHugh was paid to look after 16-year-old Ryan Esdale but instead embarked on a sexual liaison with the troubled youngster.
She even lied to her bosses so they could meet up for secret hotel trysts.
Now the couple have revealed they are planning to start together as a defiant McHugh refused to apologise for the scandal, which cost her her £24,000-a-year job and her friends, saying: ‘We love each other so much. I don’t have one regret.’
They disclosed yesterday that they are engaged and plan to marry with a honeymoon on the Greek island of Cefalonia.
They intend to fund the wedding and holiday from a £6,000 student grant awarded to pay for Ryan’s college joinery course.
McHugh said: ‘We can’t help how we feel. Ryan makes me happy. I get terrible looks from people when they see Ryan out with me and if they know I’m not his mum.
‘They say looks can kill. Well, if that’s true, I should have died about 100 times.’
McHugh was working at an outdoor pursuits-style residential home for vulnerable youngsters and was a key worker for Ryan when he was placed in her care.
The pair got together in June, 2011, and spent their first weekend together having sex at various locations across Scotland, while McHugh lied to bosses about visiting a friend in Wales.
The teenager, who has a history of criminal behaviour, had been transferred to the Lanark base of McHugh’s employers – care company Wilderness Experiences –because officials at his previous placement couldn’t control him.
McHugh’s superiors were horrified to discover that McHugh had been taking the boy to Glasgow hotels for sex, paying for the rooms on her credit card.
She resigned when police interrogated her about the trysts, after the pair also spent a night having sex at a campsite near Aberfoyle, Stirlingshire.
She was questioned on suspicion of three charges of sexual activity with a child, although criminal charges against her were later dropped.
McHugh refused to attend an inquiry into her behaviour held by the Scottish Social Services Council in Dundee in September last year and was struck off in her absence after being found guilty of seven misconduct charges.
Ryan, now 18, said: ‘I couldn’t give a damn she’s twice my age. I just thought she was beautiful.’
He added: ‘I don’t care what people think as long as they keep their thoughts to themselves.’