Parents speak out about paedophile teacher
PUBLISHED: 08:35 13 May 2011 | UPDATED: 10:31 13 May 2011
PARENTS at the school where a teacher carried out years of horrifying sex attacks on his pupils have branded the paedophile 'an animal' that 'needs to be locked away for life'.
The Mercury has been given permission to name and shame Nigel Leat after he admitted carrying out a string of assaults on five youngsters aged as young as six or seven over a five-year period.
Until now, tough legal restrictions have made it impossible for us to reveal the identity of the 50-year-old at the centre of the major police investigation.
But a judge ruled he should be identified after he pleaded guilty to 36 charges at Bristol Crown Court last week and the parents of his victims said they supported the move.
A previous court hearing revealed how there had been two separate concerns raised about Leat’s conduct towards pupils well before he was charged, but internal investigations failed to find any serious problems at that time. We are still banned from revealing which North Somerset school he worked at and the local education authority has advised mothers and fathers not to speak out to the media.
But several parents have chosen to publicly express their disgust and horror to the Mercury at developments in recent months.
One parent told us how mothers and fathers at the school had to sit their youngsters down and ask them if Leat had behaved inappropriately towards them after they heard of his arrest.
Another parent added: “He needs to be locked away for life”.
Many mums and dads found out about the devastating allegations when a special meeting with the council and police was called last December.
A third parent told the Mercury that they are shocked that Leat passed the appropriate checks to be able to work with children and added: “He is an animal and should go away for a very long time.”
Leat, who lives in Bristol, has been a teacher for 15 years, and has seen his whole career probed by investigators since allegations surfaced in December.
Offences he was accused of and pleaded guilty to include one count of attempted rape, 31 of different types of sexual assault on a child, one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and one of voyeurism.
He also admitted a single charge of possessing extreme pornographic images, and one of possessing indecent images of children.
The court was told on May 5 how police found tens of thousands of child porn pictures, and nearly a thousand videos, on the teacher’s computer when he was arrested.
The pictures and videos range in seriousness right up to the highest category of explicitness.
The case has now been adjourned to allow psychiatric reports to be carried out, with a sentencing date scheduled for Bristol Crown Court on June 10.