Victims of paedophile teacher get payout from former school

Four pupils abused by a paedophile Latin teacher who went on to prey on desperately poor Kenyan street children have received a payout from their former boarding school.

The victims claimed Simon Harris molested them at Shebbear College in Devon where he was a teacher and deputy housemaster in the 1980s.

Harris, of Pudleston near Leominster in Herefordshire, was jailed for 17 years and four months in February 2015 for a string of sex offences including abuse of three of the pupils from the school in the late 1980s, and five Kenyan boys between 2002 and 2013.

He set up a charity in Kenya in the 1990s, which prosecutors said he used to project an acceptable face to the community.

But he was secretly taking advantage of children living in poverty by luring them into his luxury home with food, money and the promise of education.

The Methodist Independent Schools Trust, which is responsible for Shebbear College, has now settled claims by the four former pupils.

Lawyers for the men would not reveal the scale of the settlement.

Solicitor Rebekah Read, of Leigh Day, said: "We are pleased to have obtained compensation for these individuals."

One of the Kenyan victims who gave evidence during the trial committed suicide during proceedings.

Investigators from the National Crime Agency (NCA) who travelled to Kenya in a bid to trace victims described him as "one of the most prolific child sex offenders" they had ever encountered. The legal action claimed that the Trust was vicariously liable for the actions of Harris, and that it had a duty to protect pupils.

Harris left the school in 1989 as a result of abuse allegations, and set up his charity in the Kenyan town of Gilgil in the 1990s.

He spent 15 months in a British jail for possession of indecent images of children following a 2009 conviction.