Former teacher jailed for child sex offences - Thatcham

09/03/2016

A man appeared at Reading Crown Court today, Wednesday, 09 March 2016, and was jailed for 21 years for child sex offences in Thatcham.

Robert Alan Neill, aged 63, of Park Lane, Thatcham, a former teacher, was sentenced after being found guilty, by a jury, on 29 January 2016, after a 9-day trial at Reading Crown Court, of rape, four counts of indecency with a child, and five counts of indecent assault on a male.

The offences took place between 1986 and 2003 in Thatcham, Berkshire. There were five male victims who were all aged 13 and under at the time of the offences.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved sexual activity, including rape, between a teacher, who is now 63-years-old, and five schoolboys, between 1986 and 2003 in Berkshire.

"As a teacher and Head of House, Robert Neill abused his position of trust and, for at least 17 years, took advantage of his status to systematically prey on vulnerable young boys and sexually abuse them for his own sexual gratification. It is only due to the great courage of the victims that the despicable behaviour of this man has been exposed. I would like to pay tribute to them for their strength and tenacity in coming forward.

"Neill denied any sexual wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct, but on 29 January 2016, at Reading Crown Court, he was found guilty by a jury of rape, four counts of indecency with a child, and five counts of indecent assault on a male after a nine-day trial despite his denials.

"The convictions and today's sentence serve as an important message to people who have been the victim of crimes such as these, or those who know that such crimes are being committed, that they should come forward and that time is no barrier to justice. The CPS will work closely with partners, as we did with Thames Valley Police in this case, to ensure that robust criminal cases are put before the courts.

"The emotional impact, on the victims and their families, of the abhorrent actions of this man is impossible to quantify. I hope that the conviction and sentence gives some small comfort to them. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Designated investigator Leigh Facey of Reading Child Abuse Investigation Unit said: "This was a complex case spanning 16 years with the last offence occurring more than 13 years ago. I would like to thank the victims for their bravery in coming forward and reliving what were horrible experiences.

"I would also take this opportunity to say that Thames Valley Police takes all offences of this kind extremely seriously, no matter how long ago they took place and we can and will successfully prosecute offenders."