January 2018

Dance teacher from Tamworth sentenced for sexual abuse of pupils

A former Birmingham dance teacher has today (Friday 19 January) been sentenced to five years in prison for sexually abusing some of his pupils.

Neil Harris, of Manta Road, Dosthill, taught at a dance school in Erdington for over 50 years from 1957 until 2017.

Harris was investigated after a woman came forward in 2015. The woman, who was taught by him from 1983 onwards, conducted a Google search and identified Harris as still being an active teacher of a dance studio.

Because of her concerns following her own experiences, she spoke to police. She told them that on several occasions, Harris had sexually touched her when she was aged between nine and 13 years.

The woman spoke of how she remembered him pulling down her leotard top and looking down at her bare chest, before making comments such as “let’s see how you’re developing”.

More people were identified by officers as an investigation was launched and allegations of further inappropriate touching and abuse followed.

The 72-year-old was charged with 21 counts of indecent assault on seven children in March this year.

After a three week trial at Birmingham Crown Court in November 2017, Harris was found guilty of seven counts of indecent assault on four girls between the 1970s – 1980s.

Today, sentencing judge at Birmingham Crown Court Peter Carr said: “The offences you committed are aggravated by the fact they were committed in the presence of other students who were your pupils during lessons. It is a gross breach of trust.

“You’ve had an effect on the women’s relationships with adults, their own children and being haunted by the experience for many years into adulthood. They make, as many of them do, distressing reading.”

December 2017

Birmingham dance teacher, 72, guilty of child sex abuse

A former dance teacher has been found guilty of sexual offences towards former pupils in the 1970s and 80s.

Neil Harris, 72, from Manta Road in Tamworth, was a teacher at a Birmingham dance school for more than 50 years.

Police said Harris would pull down one victim’s top to see how she was “developing” at the school in Erdington.

He was found guilty of seven counts of indecent assault relating to four girls at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday

When one of his victims from 1983 learned Harris was still teaching at the dance school in 2015, she came forward and told police he had touched her sexually between the ages of nine and 13.

As more victims came forward, Harris was charged with 21 counts of indecent assault on seven children in March.

He was found guilty of seven counts of indecent assault relating to four girls in the 1970s and 80s, and not guilty of 14 charges.

Harris is due to be sentenced on 19 January at Birmingham Crown Court.