Released On 28th Oct 2020
Paedophile teacher Nigel Leat due to be released on licence
In 2013, Samantha Robson a solicitor at Robson Shaw, acted on behalf of many of the families of victims of former teacher Nigel Leat. Sam was heavily involved in the litigation and helped the children affected by the scandal to gain the compensation they deserved. Leat had been a teacher at Hillside First School in Worle when he was arrested in 2010 of abusing numerous pupils in his class.
Such was the seriousness of the case and allegations against Leat, that North Somerset Council who ran the school commissioned a Serious Case Review following his arrest which was published in January 2012. The extensive report revealed that numerous suspicions had been raised against Leat, yet the school failed to take the appropriate steps to protect the children in his class. Leat joined the school in September 1995. Families involved in the case strongly suspected Leat targeted a first school as the children in his class were likely to become sexualised by his abuse, but they would leave the school at the age of 8 and before they reached an age to really understand the gravity Leat’s behaviour.
The Serious Case Review found that the headteacher Chris Hood ignored 30 separate concerns about Leat’s behaviour which allowed Leat to carrying on abusing children. The families Sam represented were horrified that Leat had worked at the school for 15 years. There were so many missed opportunities and those Sam helped were upset and angry that Leat’s abuse had gone undetected for so long.
At the time, the police suspected upwards of 40 girls had been abused. Leat faced charges in relation to five girls including allegations of attempted rape and serious sexual assaults. He pleaded guilty to 36 sexual offences for which he received an indeterminate prison sentence and to serve a minimum term of 8 years.
Leat applied to the Parole board for early release. The Parole board has now decided that Leat will be released into society in November 2020. He has been made subject to licence conditions, to include enhanced electronic tagging. Sam asks, “Is this enough for the families affected? Undoubtedly not. Leat has served only 9 years of his indeterminate sentence for possibly some of the most serious sexual offences that Sam has dealt with in over 20 years of working with survivors of sexual abuse. When Leat was sentenced in June 2011, the families were relieved that he was granted an indeterminate sentence. Sam comments, “having worked so closely with the families affected over a number of years, the indeterminate sentence was a relief. I could never have anticipated that Leat could be walking the same streets as his victims within 9 years. One of the families affected is devastated by the news. Her daughter was a named victim and has not long turned 18. She is still suffering from the effects of her trauma and Leat's early release is another setback in her recovery."
Leat was a prolific offender and irrespective of the number of charges he faced in 2011, it is quite possible that the majority of his victims have not yet come forward, perhaps because they feel it is too late and there is nothing more to be said. However, Samantha has recently been instructed by another survivor of Nigel Leat and is confident of securing compensation, despite the passage of time. Sam comments, “Many families are unaware that it is still possible to gain compensation. It is not too late to come forward if you were one of the many, as yet, unnamed victims, please do get in touch.”
If you or a family member has been affected by the Nigel Leat scandal please contact Sam on 01392 345331 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org.