Women Join Irwin Mitchell In Urging Survivors Not To Suffer In Silence
Two women sexually abused by a “creepy” schoolteacher have urged others not to suffer in silence after specialist lawyers secured them settlements to help overcome their ordeals.
The women were pupils at a school in North Wales when Gordon Fleming subjected them to sexual assaults.
Fleming, of Oswestry, Shropshire, was jailed for 10 years in 2017 after pleading guilty to 35 counts of indecent assault. They related to incidents at schools in North Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.
Following his conviction a number of people abused by Fleming instructed expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help them access the specialist support they need to overcome what happened to them.
Irwin Mitchell has now secured settlements for two women, who are now both aged in their 40s and who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Expert OpinionPeter Lorence, expert abuse lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the pair, said: “This is yet another shocking case where individuals have suffered terrible abuse from someone in a position of power and trust.
“While nothing will ever change what has happened to these women, we hope that his conviction and this settlement will go some way towards helping them move forward and get the support they need to go on and live happy lives.
“We are continuing to support others who were abused by Fleming so they can access the specialist support they also require to come to terms with their ordeal.
“Cases like these are a reminder that survivors of abuse should not suffer alone and can come forward safe in the knowledge that their concerns will always be handled with the greatest level of sensitivity.” Peter Lorence - Senior Associate Solicitor
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting survivors of abuse
The women told their legal team at Irwin Mitchell how Fleming was “an angry teacher” who would pull them towards him.
They did not report the abuse because they thought that they would not be believed as Fleming was very well thought of amongst parents.
Since leaving school the women have both experienced depression and had problems forming relationships.
One woman said: “Fleming would mainly try to do things when I was on my own with him. I remember Fleming often grabbing my arm to pull me towards him but I would try and fight him off.
“But he would always find a way to touch me, for example, if I went up to his desk he would hold me against him.
“He gave us all the creeps. I also remember him screaming, shouting, spitting and throwing things at us in the classroom.”
The woman had a breakdown in 2009. She went to police in 2017 after she saw in the news that Fleming had admitted 24 charges. Later that year he admitted a further 11 sex offences.
She added: “I would encourage anyone who has suffered any kind of child abuse to go to the police as soon as they are able, even if it is decades later. The relief from making a statement to the police and then having help available to tackle issues resulting from the abuse has been life changing for me.
“I truly wish I had felt strong and credible enough to have done so many years ago. Please believe me - it is never too late to seek help. I feel that it has enabled me to move on in my life.”
The other woman added: “Fleming was a hideous teacher. He was very brazen and would touch all the girls in front of the class.
“When the bell went, we would all race to get out of the class because we knew that the last one out would be collared by Fleming and pulled back into the classroom.”
She added: “For years I suffered from low self-esteem and bottled up what had happened. Then in 2017 I was at the petrol station when I saw a newspaper headline about his guilty plea.
“I knew something had to be done. I was apprehensive about contacting the police but the relief I felt after I had given a statement was unbelievable.
“I had kept the abuse secret for too long. I now hope that others survivors don’t bottle things up and report what has happened to them as there is help and support out there.”