Update: Paedophile teacher is named
A CROWN court judge has today ruled that the Mercury CAN name a teacher who has admitted a catalogue of sexual offences against his pupils.
Until now, tough legal restrictions have made it impossible for us to reveal the identity of the 50-year-old man at the centre of a major police investigation.
Although we are still banned from revealing which North Somerset school he worked at, we can now reveal the guilty man to be Nigel Leat.
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.
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He today 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.
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He also admitted a single charge of possessing extreme pornographic images, and one of possessing indecent images of children.
The court was told how police found tens of thousands of child porn pictures, and nearly a thousand videos, on the teacher’s computer when he was arrested in December.
The pictures and videos range in seriousness right up to the highest category of explicitness, and include images of young children with animals.
Police have assigned significant resources to investigating the case since allegations first came to light, with 30 officers probing the teacher’s background.
They are still carrying out physical examinations of pupils who have fallen victim to the paedophile during his teaching career.
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.
Leat’s employment has already been terminated by North Somerset Council, whose expert support staff have been working to support victims and parents.
A council spokesman said: “This man’s betrayal of trust has had a devastating impact on the victims, their families and the whole school community. He has been summarily dismissed from our employment.
“Since these allegations came to light in December last year educational psychologists, social workers and other staff from North Somerset Council have been in the school regularly to offer support to children, parents and staff.
“We will continue to work together to support staff, parents, and children in the days and weeks to come so that everyone can begin to recover from these events and to help the school and families return to some state of normality.”