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Teacher who abused girls of just six is jailed indefinitely


Nigel Leat

Nigel Leat

Nigel Leat

A primary school teacher who filmed himself sexually abusing vulnerable young girls in his classroom was jailed indefinitely today.

Predatory paedophile Nigel Leat, 51, filmed the abuse involving five girls over the course of five years,

He admitted 36 offences, including attempted rape of a child and sexual assault on children.

Bristol Crown Court heard details of how he would molest the girls as they practised their reading aloud in class, getting them to perform sex acts on him at the same time.

He sexually abused girls as young as six, filming the abuse on cameras he had put in place for the purpose, the court was told last Friday.

Police revealed that Leat used to identify "star pupils" and shower them with gifts before abusing them in one-to-one reading sessions.

Leat, who is from Bristol, could be heard in the films referring to the girls as "sweetie pie" and "darling" and asking them how much they loved him.

The videos, in most of which Leat could be seen, showed girls were abused in the school's staffroom and a resource room at Hillside First School in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

In the films, which were up to 10 minutes long, Leat could be seen touching them, including when they were changing their clothes to go outside.

He also wrote letters to them, asking them to perform sex acts on him.

The father-of-two initially denied all the claims against him, but he confessed after police found the films on his home computer.

After police arrested him on December 13 last year, they discovered about 30,500 indecent photographs and 720 indecent movies in his possession.

Judge Neil Ford QC gave Leat an indeterminate sentence, telling him he would have to serve at least eight and a half years before he could be considered for parole.

He told Leat: "Your manipulation of the children was clever, cunning and insidious."

The families of the children sobbed in disbelief as they listened to the judge outlining Leat's offences.

Passing sentence, Judge Ford told him: "I am of the opinion you do represent a serious risk to young girls. These offences were carried out over a long period of time with great regularity.

"You have the ability to befriend young girls and persuade them to participate in sexual behaviour.

"You told him (Dr Sandford) you couldn't stop, you couldn't think of anything else but to take your camera to school and make films. You described it as an obsession.

"You were in a position of authority and trust.

"In order to avoid detection you were careful not to upset the child.

"You filmed most of your abuse for later gratification."

The judge told Leat his actions had not only harmed the children, but had destroyed their parents' ability to trust.

"You carried out a catalogue of abuse at a place where children were expected to be wholly safe," he said.

Leat wore dark glasses and sat with his head bowed in the dock as he was sentenced.

Speaking outside court Detective Superintendent Geoff Wessell of Avon and Somerset Police said: "Nigel Leat is a predatory paedophile of the most sickening order who has preyed on the children of his school and abused them in the most sick way.

"The abuse of trust, I have never come across anything as extreme as this."

In a written statement Det Supt Wessell added: "The sentence passed today on Nigel Leat is a reflection of the hideous crimes he committed.

"I hope the sentence passed by the judge brings some comfort to those affected by Leat's actions, but in particular his victims, who have shown great bravery and courage to talk about what has happened to them.

"Their disclosures will mean Leat will stay in prison for a long time."

PA Media