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School girls who branded 'skirt obsessed' paedo teacher a pervert were 'placed into isolation'

FORMER pupils of a school, whose assistant head was last week exposed as a paedophile, who amassed a collection of thousands of indecent images and videos mainly of teenage girls, said it covered up his inappropriate behaviour and that some students were placed into isolation for calling him out.

Parents of former pupils and former students claimed complaints about Gareth Mellor, 43, (above) being inappropriately obsessed with girl's skirts were "ignored" and "brushed under the carpet", while children who confronted him were punished.

Mellor was tracked down by National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators after making a Bitcoin payment for indecent images of children via an encrypted cloud storage service.

He was arrested in May 2021 at his home address and officers downloaded the contents of his two cloud storage accounts, which revealed more than 11,500 indecent images and videos of children.

Mellor pleaded guilty to three offences relating to the making of indecent images of children this month and is due to be sentenced on December 7 at Leeds Crown.

Remarkably, he was the child safeguarding lead at Kettlethorpe High School, Wakefield, despite it being an "open secret" that he would inspect girl's skirts and tug at them if they were too short for the uniform policy.

After the sentence, Essex News and Investigations asked the school and Wakefield Council, the local education authority (LEA), if there had ever been any concerns about Mellor's behaviour.

It was after a February 2019 post was discovered on, which suggested he had been accused numerous times of concerning behaviour regarding girl's skirts at the school.

This was dismissed by the school, which insisted it had never had any safeguarding complaints about him, and the LEA as just a rumour.

However, after news broke of Mellor's conviction, several former pupils or their parents posted on Facebook about their disturbing experiences with the former teacher.

One woman posted: "He was always messing with our skirts at school."

Another replied: "I know but they wouldn't listen would they?"

Another poster said: "Someone needs to be held accountable for employing him and the fact all the complaints were ignored."

One mum said: "I reported him to safeguarding - they were not interested."

A man added: "Reported him to school years ago but got brushed under the carpet."

A number of women or parents posted that girls who called him out as a "paedo" or "nonce" were placed into isolation, rather than the issue being looked into.

Essex News and Investigations contacted a number of the posters who confirmed their claims.

One parent said she made a complaint to safeguarding in 2019, but it was ignored.

She also provided an email she sent the school in June 2021, which raised a separate issue regarding Mellor's (non-sexual) treatment of her son and asked that he had no more contact with him due to her concerns around his "suitability to be around vulnerable children."

She added: "I have also been made aware of very inappropriate posts on social media and in all honesty these posts and allegations are very concerning."

A former pupil said: "Lots of accusations were made against him and nothing was done. I got put in isolation for calling him a nonce because he constantly wanted to check the length of our skirts."

Another ex-pupil said: "Due to Mr Mellor's nature he quickly got the name as a paedophile among the students. Any new girls starting were warned to stay away.

"It was not long before the students started calling him this when they were faced with his uncomfortable conversations, but due to him being assistant head teacher, he held a lot of power over discipline and you would be sent straight to isolation for this - for a couple of days too."

Headteacher Tudor Griffiths, (above) said: “We have a clear and robust complaints procedure in school to deal with any allegations about staff. We have reviewed our records, going back over the last ten years, and there have been no safeguarding complaints raised concerning Gareth Mellor. If any of the allegations made on social media had been raised as a complaint, they would have been fully investigated."

Turning to the June 2021 email, the school said: "The email exchange shared was shortly after Gareth Mellor was arrested. The police investigation had become active by this point."

However, the school has yet to comment on whether it was aware he was arrested as the email suggested he was still employed there."

In terms of children being punished for calling him out about his skirt obsession, the school added: "That was dealt with in line with the schools’ behaviour code, with no suggestion anything had happened that would make this a safeguarding issue."

Vicky Schofield, Wakefield Council’s Corporate Director for Children and Young People, said: “As soon as Gareth Mellor was arrested, we worked with the school and West Yorkshire Police to understand if any pupils had been affected. There were no safeguarding complaints made against Mellor to Wakefield Local Authority at any time.

“It is extremely concerning to read comments on social media that allege there was knowledge that he behaved in an inappropriate way. We urge anyone who feels a safeguarding complaint was not dealt with appropriately, to get in touch as soon as possible. If there is any evidence of safeguarding failures we will not hesitate to investigate and take the appropriate action.”


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