Police welcome guilty pleas from paedophile teacher

PUBLISHED: 13:40 06 May 2011 | UPDATED: 13:40 06 May 2011

Nigel Leat

Nigel Leat

submitted

POLICE have welcomed the news that a North Somerset school teacher has pleaded guilty to 36 sexual offences involving children.

Bristol Crown Court ruled yesterday that the Mercury could name Nigel Leat, the paedophile behind the horrific offences.

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.

The decision to lift restrictions came after the parents of all of his victims told the court they supported calls to see him named.

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.

He pleaded guilty to 36 charges at Bristol Crown Court, which related to five children aged around six or seven over the past five years.

He admitted offences included 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.

Head of public protection, Superintendent Geoff Wessell, said: “The pleas entered by Nigel Leat are welcomed by both the investigative team and the families of those vulnerable victims who have endured abuse at the hands of this man.

“These pleas mean the children who have come to harm will not have to endure a stressful trial, reliving the moments Nigel Leat abused them and retained a hold on them.

“Nigel Leat was placed in a position of trust as a teacher in the North Somerset area, this trust was clearly breached when he subjected young girls in his care to repeated sexual abuse.

“For a number of years Leat believed he had got away with these crimes, crimes that will leave his victims with both emotional and mental scars.

“We would like to thank the families who have come forward to police to report this abuse. Their courage and support has brought this man before the courts

“We now await sentence.”

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.

Head of the Crown Prosecution Service complex casework unit, Ann Reddrop, added: “Nigel Leat admitted a number of extremely serious offences.

“This was a gross breach of trust involving the abuse of children who were, at the time, in his care.

“We worked closely with Avon and Somerset Constabulary from a very early stage to ensure a successful prosecution.

“We reviewed an enormous amount of evidence and it is testament to the hard work of the whole prosecution team that when presented with that evidence Nigel Leat had no choice but to plead guilty.”

The Mercury is still unable, for legal reasons, to name the school Leat taught at.

* For more on this story click the link at the top of the page.

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