January 2019

Paedophile primary school teacher is jailed for sexually abusing pupil

A former primary school teacher has been jailed for repeatedly sexually assaulting a young pupil.

Robert Soutar molested the girl, aged between seven and 11 years, between 1975 and 1981, when he was working at Dovelands Primary School, in Leicester’s Hinckley Road.

The 71-year-old was jailed for three years in 2001 for 15 indecent assaults, on seven girls of a similar age at Dovelands Primary.

The crimes took place from 1976 until 2000, when the matters came to light and he was dismissed, prompting an investigation.

The assaults, for which he was earlier sentenced, took place in the school stockroom, the playground, during a gym club and in his car.

One girl was kissed and indecently touched after going for a walk in the woods with him. He also touched girls on the legs as they were sitting at their desks in class. 

Souter, formerly of Leicester but latterly of Beacon Road, Trimingham, Norfolk, pleaded guilty yesterday to six counts of indecently assaulting the latest complainant, who sat in the public gallery at Leicester Crown Court to see him sentenced today.

Although she had made her complaint known to the police during the original investigation, Soutar was not prosecuted in relation to her case, which resulted in a follow-up complaint being lodged with the authorities and the charges being brought.

Beverly Cripps, prosecuting, said the defendant was employed at the school from 1971.

The victim recalled first being indecently touched by her teacher, Soutar, after a PE lesson when he asked to put some equipment back into a shed.

“He touched her all over her body; chest, back and bottom,” said Miss Cripps.

She added: “There were multiple incidents with the complainant describing ‘the shed thing happening so often’, with similar touching.”

He also put his hand down the back of her skirt and groped her after an after-school gym practice. 

After one PE session, he pushed her against some mats and indecently manhandled her so roughly it left bruising.

In a victim impact statement read out by the prosecutor, the complainant said she had been left “confused” because she did not not understand what was happening at such a young age.

She said: “School is a place where children should feel safe and protected.

“He exploited his position to abuse me.”

She said she now felt “brave” in bringing Soutar to justice and added: “I’m no longer a vulnerable little girl.

“I’ve spoken out against his evil actions.

“I struggle with memories and the knowledge of what happened to me.

“I can’t change what happened but I’m trying to live with it.

“No-one should have to live with the fear and shame I’ve had to suffer for the last 35 years.”

Judge Nicolas Dean QC said it was a “complex” sentencing exercise as the maximum penalty at the time of the offences was five years – with much more severe penalties having since been introduced for such offences.

Sentencing, Judge Dean said it was a serious breach of trust by a teacher.

He said: “Children at junior school are vulnerable.

“They are innocents who know nothing of sexual behaviour amongst adults.

“They have no knowledge that some adults are paedophiles.

“They’re also entitled, when at school, to feel safe.

“All of us are entitled to have happy memories of being at junior school.

“You have caused girls – women as they now are – to have a most miserable time at school and you’ve affected their lives as they’ve grown up.”

Judge Dean said that he took into account the defendant’s age and the fact “glowing references” spoke well of his character since the offending. 

Soutar was jailed for nine months with an additional one year licence period, but was told that he might be released half way through his nine month sentence, or may have to serve the entire 21 month term in custody including the licence term.

He will have to register his future addresses on a sex offender register for 10 years. 

After sentence was passed, the judge told the victim: “I know it’s been a long time coming and you’ve lived with this for many years, I know you’ll never forget what happened when you were very young but I hope it brings you some closure.

“It has required courage on your part.”

He said she had “thankfully been spared having to give evidence” because of the defendant’s guilty pleas.

September 2002

Paedophile teacher jailed

A former primary school teacher who sexually abused young girls has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Robert Soutar, 54, committed the attacks at Dovelands Primary School in Leicester where he had been a teacher for many years.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how Soutar exploited a schoolgirl’s crush on him to carry out a series of sex attacks on one of his victims.

The witness, now a 41-year-old married mother-of-two, kept her ordeal secret for nearly 30 years.

The court was told that the victim, who was 11 years old at the time, considered Soutar “good-looking” and would often hold his hand at school.

“I feel bitter because he has ruined my life and angry because he was allowed to get away with it for so long,” she said.

Soutar’s sentence will be added to the three years’ imprisonment he was given at Leicester Crown Court in June 2001.

At that hearing he admitted indecently assaulting 15 other pupils between 1965 and his suspension and dismissal in 2000.

Leicester City and Leicestershire County Councils launched an inquiry in 2001 into how he managed to escape detection for 35 years.

A report into Soutar’s conduct concluded: “There was a failure to connect individual events and detect the overall pattern of incidents.

“There appears to have been a lack of knowledge about how abusers operate and a lack of clarity about what is appropriate behaviour.”

Soutar was convicted of two charges of indecent assault, two of indecency with a child and two offences of a serious sexual nature.