Breaking news: ‘Indefinite’ jail term for paedophile teacher

PUBLISHED: 10:40 14 June 2011 | UPDATED: 11:30 14 June 2011

Nigel Leat

Nigel Leat

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A PAEDOPHILE teacher who filmed himself sexually abusing young girls in his Worle classroom has received an indefinite prison sentence.

Nigel Leat, who taught at Hillside First School for 15 years, was moments ago given the indefinite term by a judge at Bristol Crown Court.

Leat had pleaded guilty to 36 different charges relating to the abuse of pupils in his care.

His Honour Judge Ford QC this morning imposed the indefinite jail term for ‘public protection’, and ruled the 51-year-old must serve a minimum of eight-and-a-half years before he can even apply for parole - at which time he must demonstrate that he is no longer a danger to young girls if he is to be considered for release.

The court had earlier heard how predatory Leat had abused girls aged six to eight over a ‘substantial period of time’, and filmed himself doing it.

Police who raided his home when he was arrested in December found 453 films of him attacking young students at Hillside. Abuse took place in the classroom - often in front of other pupils - and elsewhere in the school, including the staff room.

The married dad-of-two pleaded guilty to 36 charges, including one attempted rape, 31 indecent assaults, one case of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one of voyeurism.

He also admitted possessing indecent photographs of children, and one of possessing extreme pornographic images.

Police DCI Geoff Wessell said: “Leat is a predatory paedophile and this is the worst, most sickening breach of trust I have ever seen.

“He is cunning and a paedophile who is an expert at lying.

“Leat has the ability to manipulate at all levels.

“He groomed victims over weeks and months and his behaviour became routine for victims.

“The sentence will hopefully bring some comfort to parents and the school, they can be safe in the knowledge Leat will never again work with children.”

An investigation is now underway into how Leat managed to get away with his abuse for so long - and why his actions went undetected despite concerns over his conduct being raised on THREE separate occasions.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “Nigel Leat’s sickening actions have had a devastating impact on the victims, their families and everyone connected with the school.

“Since his arrest in December our educational psychologists, social workers and other workers from NSC have been in school regularly supporting children, parents and staff.

“We have worked closely with the police during their investigation. Teams of social, workers have been working alongside officers during this thorough and painstaking work.

“Parents have been kept up to date wit the progress of the criminal investigation and a number of sessions have been held involving the council and the police offering support, guidance and reassurance.

“The local safeguarding children board decided in January to commission an independent serious case review. This will examine the circumstances around what has happened and will help us answer questions on most parents lips of could action have been taken earlier that would have prevented abuse.

“This work is underway and we expect it to be completed by early autumn.

“During the course of our joint investigation with the police, concerns were raised about leadership and management at the school. This led to the suspension of the head teacher in January.

“This disciplinary process is ongoing and likely to conclude within the next month. There is no police involvement in this process and no ongoing investigation of any other members of staff.

“We will continue to work together to support children, parents and staff in the days and weeks to come so that everyone can begin to recover from these events and return to some state of normality.”

Click on the link at the top of the page for video and audio clips of Nigel Leat’s police interviews - where he denied the crimes, and describes the allegations as ‘horrible’.

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