November 2017: Lost his appeal after he failed to convince top judges that his jail term is too tough.

March 2016

Kennet School teacher jailed for rape of a pupil

Robert-Neill

A school PE teacher who chose vulnerable boys “who took his fancy” to prey on and sexually abuse has been jailed for 21 years for raping a pupil.

Robert Neill’s wife blew him a kiss across the courtroom as the 63-year-old was led down to the cells on Wednesday, March 9, after a judge described how he had left “an indelible mark” on his victims, some as young as 11.

The paedophile, of Park Lane, Thatcham and who was a housemaster at the school, was sent to prison for more than two decades for sexually assaulting boy pupils where he worked for 17 years.

He worked at Kennet School in Thatcham, when he carried out the severe sexual acts, which included a rape.

Sitting at Reading Crown Court Judge Angela Morris described the 63-year-old as a man who preyed on the “youngest” and “most vulnerable” pupils at his school to carry out his abuse which left an indelible mark upon them.

The teacher would single out the youngest boys in their academic years and also naughty pupils before demanding that they paid him a visit in his office.

Acting as the head of St Michael’s House at the Berkshire school, he would inflict his abuse during the office visits within the grounds of the school.

His abuse escalated over a period of 17 years, including raping one of his young victims during the school’s lunch break.

His last victim, who later tried to kill himself, went to the police after being admitted to a psychiatric ward at just 19 years old.

Neill was told by the judge he was a predator who “singled out boys who took your fancy” and had shown little remorse despite the unanimous guilty verdicts.

During the trial the court heard one of his multiple victims remembered being squeezed on the knee and then having his genitals grabbed by the paedophile teacher.

Neill had described his victims as fantasists and liars during the trial in which he denied any wrongdoing.

Kevin Barry, prosecuting, told Reading Crown Court: “His victims have suffered a devastating chain of harm which had a significant degree of planning which was a massive abuse of trust.

“[The victim] of the rape has suffered several psychological effects as well as the physical effects, there was bleeding and pain for several days.

“His entire life was consumed by anxiety and fear, feeling shame and being socially isolated. He struggled to trust family members and especially teachers, failed to concentrate and as a result failed at school

“He spiralled into substance misuse. This alienated family members and there were several attempts to take his own life.

“It was only when he went through therapy he felt confident enough to go to the police. He believes the abuse continues to have an effect on his life to this day, waking up screaming and having night terrors.”

Mr Barry continued: “Another victim said the defendant’s behaviour caused him to be introduced to sex much earlier than he should have been and this led to sex being a dysfunctional part of his life. He puts that down to the defendant’s actions against him.”

Judge: “Under no circumstances could you have conceivably thought that you had any right to touch, cajole, or groom any of those boys”

Trudi Yateman, defending, said: “He was previously a man of good character, which he has lost in an spectacular way.”

None of his victims had known each other and Judge Morris highlighted the abuse had taken place over an extended period of time.

Judge Morris said: “The evidence suggested that none of the victims knew each other. Any overlap between them at the school was minimal. Each first disclosed what had happened in very different situations and only one came forward as a result of press interest.

“The evidence placed before the jury demonstrated what might be best described as a pattern of offending in that the sexual abuse perpetrated on [the victims] took place over a considerable period of time – some 15 years – and escalated in seriousness as time went on.

“By the time [his last victim] was a student at the school I can only conclude that you must have been so confident of being able to get away with sexually abusing students that you were prepared to rape and indecently assault the victim in your own school study during the lunchtime recess.

“In the case of each of the complainants your conduct left an indelible mark upon them – some have been affected by your abuse more than others but that is hardly the point.

“Under no circumstances could you have conceivably thought that you had any right to touch, cajole, or groom any of those boys for your own sexual gratification. It seems to me that in doing so you chose to abrogate your responsibilities for their welfare in favour of satisfying your own sexual desires.”

He was sentenced to 21 years in prison for the rape of a boy who was aged under 16 and dealt further sentences which the judge confirmed would be served concurrently to the lengthy rape jail term.

For four counts of indecent assault on a male person under the age of 16 he was sentenced each to 20 months.

For the two counts of indecency with a child under 14 years, the count of rape of a boy under 16 years the count of indecent assault on a male person aged 12 or 13 years old and two counts of indecency with a child aged 12 or 13 years old he was sentenced to six years.

He was also sentenced to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

February 2016

Berkshire teacher found guilty of raping and abusing pupils

Robert Neill

A TEACHER has been found guilty of raping a pupil and sexually abusing others at a West Berkshire school.

Robert ‘Alan’ Neill, a former head of year at Kennet School in Thatcham, had denied the claims.

However, he was unanimously convicted of all ten charges against him by a jury at Reading Crown Court on Friday.

Neill, 62, of Park Lane, Thatcham carried out a string of assaults on boys aged from 11 years old between 1986 and 2002.

The abuse ranged from exposing himself to serious sex acts and one count of rape.

Giving evidence during a week long trial, Neill had denied the charges, branding his victims liars and fantasists.

At the trial jurors had heard that the boy who was raped by Neill had suffered injuries lasting days – but that the mental scars had lasted a lifetime.

They were also told how Neill had squeezed the boy’s knee before grabbing his genitals. He then forced him to perform a sex act on him.

He was found guilty of:

  • Four counts of indecent assault on a male person under the age of 16

  • Two counts of indecency with a child under 14 years

  • One count of rape of a boy under 16 years

  • One count of indecent assault on a male person aged 12 or 13 years old

  • Two counts of indecency with a child aged 12 or 13 years old

He will be sentenced on February 19.

Case investigator Leigh Facey of Reading Child Abuse Investigation Unit said: “This was a complex case spanning 16 years with the last offence occuring 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.”

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