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Man Instructs Lawyers After Former London Priest Found Guilty Of Abusing Schoolboys

Andrew Soper Was Found Guilty Of 19 Charges Of Rape And Other Sexual Offences

16.01.2018

James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

A London man has instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell after his alleged attacker was convicted of abusing 10 boys at St. Benedict’s School, Ealing, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Andrew Soper was found guilty at the Old Bailey of two charges of rape, two charges of indecency with a child and 15 counts of indecent assault.

The abuse took place while Soper was master in charge of discipline at St. Benedict’s. The court heard he would assault his victims after subjecting them to corporal punishment that would involve the use of a cane.

The police were first contacted by one of Soper’s victims in 2004, however there was insufficient evidence at the time for a conviction. Soper was subsequently interviewed by police at Heathrow station in 2010.

This led to him fleeing to Kosovo while on police bail in 2011.

In August 2016, he returned to the country after being deported by the Kosovan authorities. On his arrival at Luton airport, Soper was arrested.

The man who has instructed specialists at Irwin Mitchell, Paul Richards, 48, gave a statement to the police in 2015. At the time, police took no further action on his allegations of abuse and he was not part of the legal proceedings against Soper. The police instead decided to focus on complaints from other victims.

Paul alleges that he was abused by Soper in 1989 at Feltham Young Offenders Institution in London.

Paul was sent to the Feltham Young Offenders Institution for a year having been found guilty of fraud. Shortly after his arrival there, he was moved to the vulnerable person’s wing due to being subjected to bullying in the main wing.

Soper, at this point known as Father Laurence Soper, was a Chaplain, from Ealing Abbey, who would visit boys at the institution two or three times a week. Due to his position, Soper had keys to the cells and use of a private room.

Paul alleges that Soper would come into his cell, locking the door behind him. Once in Paul’s cell, Soper would grope Paul between his legs. The abuse then escalated and Soper would rape Paul in his cell.

The abuse is alleged to have gone on throughout Paul’s time at Feltham Young Offenders Institution.

Paul, who still suffers with flashbacks of the abuse and has depression leaving him unable to work, said: “While nothing can change what happened to me, I welcome the news that Soper has been found guilty of his horrid abuse.

“I commend the bravery of those who came forward and gave evidence against him.

“Almost 30 years on, I still suffer flashbacks to what he did to me. As a result of his actions I live locked in a battle with depression, one that leaves me unable to work.

“I have instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell as I am keen to get answers for why what happened to me was allowed to happen and to ensure lessons are learned to prevent it happening to anyone else.”

Oliver Scott-Petrie, the abuse legal specialist at Irwin Mitchell representing Paul, said: 

Expert Opinion
“Many people who suffer sexual abuse as a child or young adult are affected by the ordeal for the rest of their lives and their experiences can have a significant impact on how they choose to live their lives.

“Paul, along with the other survivors that have spoken out, has shown exceptional courage and bravery in coming forward.

“We hope this courage will help others who have been abused to seek help, in the knowledge that they will be listened to and believed.

“We will work with Paul to try and get him justice for the traumatic experience he had to endure while at Feltham Young Offenders Institution.”
Oliver Scott-Petrie, Solicitor

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