'Bring back the death penalty' for paedophile teacher - parents say.
PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 June 2011
PARENTS at a school where predatory paedophile Nigel Leat worked for 15 years say the death penalty should be brought back for the 'evil, despicable' teacher who was told this week he will be locked away indefinitely.
"I hope he’s locked away for life, but what he really deserves is the electric chair or to hang."
The 51-year-old, who filmed himself abusing children at Hillside First School in Worle hundreds of times, was told this week that he poses a ‘serious’ threat to society and was told he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
His Honour Judge Ford QC told Leat at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday that he will only be released when experts are convinced he no longer poses a danger to children and his sentence reflected not only the 36 charges, but the overall abuse he had carried out.
Leat will only be considered for parole after eight years and 184 days and could spend much longer than that in prison, but Hillside parents say although they hope he is locked away for life, they would prefer to ‘see him hang’ or ‘face the electric chair’.
One parent, whose child used to be taught by Leat, said: “They need to put him in a normal prison and leave him for other prisoners to decide what to do to him.
“I hope he’s locked away for life, but what he really deserves is the electric chair or to hang.
“His victims will remember what has happened to them for longer than eight-and-a-half years, so we need to have faith in the system that he isn’t released after that time.”
Parents of Leat’s victims wept in the public gallery as the paedophile was sentenced this week.
They had also heard stomach-churning details of the abuse Leat carried out in his classroom and the staff room as he supposedly helped children with their reading, or to get ready for PE.
Following the sentence another Hillside parent told the Mercury she would also like to see Leat ‘hang’ for the torture he has put children and their families through.
She added that although the school now needs to move on, she hopes questions are raised about how the paedophile got away with his abuse for so long and how he seemed to keep the same classroom for years while other teachers moved around the Church Road site.
An inquiry is already under way, which will also be asked to address how Leat’s crimes went undetected despite concerns being raised about his conduct on three earlier occasions.
She added: “The school needs to move on, but I never thought it would happen at Hillside.
“It’s probably the safest school in the county now, but it should have been that way in the first place.”
The court heard on Friday how Leat abused children aged six to eight over a ‘significant’ period of time.
While he taught at Hillside he carried out a catalogue of sickening assaults that police suspect affected up to 47 children there, either directly at the hands of the paedophile or having witnessed or been effected in some other way by his actions.
Leat groomed his pupils, giving them gifts and getting them to sign ‘contracts’ in the form of written agreements to carry out sexual favours for or with him.
Another parent, whose child was also taught by Leat, added: “I don’t know how this sick, despicable, evil man managed to get away with it.
“The protection put in place at the school failed.
“Normally I’m all for rehabilitation, but I can’t see how the risk of releasing him could ever be taken.
“You don’t have the option of the death penalty in this country, so he can only be locked away for life.
“Really he just deserves to be put to sleep.
“If he ever comes out of prison a lot of people will be after him. There will be a riot if he’s released.
“He groomed us all – not just the children – we were all fooled into believing he was someone he wasn’t, so what’s to stop him doing that again if he is released?”
* Click on the link at the top of the page for more on this story.