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In August 2005, Liverpool FC author and teacher Brian Pead, who was present at the Hillsborough Disaster, was asked to run a Unit for vulnerable pupils called the Old Library Centre Virtual School, initially based in West Norwood.
At the age of 19, in a precursor to Hillsborough, Brian Pead attended a Coroner’s inquest into the death of his brother who had received serious head injuries including a fractured skull aboard the Lowestoft trawler St. Kitts (LT481) in April 1972. Brian instinctively knew that the Inquest was heavily weighted on the side of the fishing company’s insurers, who arrived at the Court with a barrister and an army of sycophants. His brother’s widow was afforded no such luxury. All in an attempt to deny considerable payment to his widow and two young sons. But being just 19, Brian did not possess the necessary skills to fight his late brother’s cause. In shades of Hillsborough, the fishing company claimed that Robert had been instrumental in his own death, yet he was a highly experienced Third Hand with six years of working the North Sea in all weathers behind him.
Brian tracked down the names of all of the helicopter crew who airlifted his brother to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and he wrote to them all. He asked for their views of the incident. He thanked them all for their efforts. Robert died in September 1972 after his life support machine was switched off. Irreversible brain damage was cited. Years later, Tony Bland – the 96th victim of Hillsborough – suffered a similar fate.
At the age of 20, Brian’s response was to go under cover and join the very same fishing fleet as his brother (Boston Deep Sea Fisheries) to investigate the untimely death.
Little did Brian Pead know at that time that he would again encounter irreversible brain damage, lies against innocent people, police corruption and more at the Hillsborough Football Disaster as an author of books on Liverpool Football Club from 1892 and then once again in his own life when he uncovered illegal practices and corruption.
Having taken the position of Head Teacher of a Lambeth pupil referral unit in 2005, he employed radical but highly effective methods combined with group therapy to meet the emotional, behavioural and educational needs of the pupils, who gained considerable self-insight.
Having gained the attention of eminent mental health professionals, the Unit was described by researchers at King’s College as the most successful in London. Brian Pead was invited to write a paper on his methods for publication in psychology and psychiatric journals.
Into this safe haven walked Maryn Murray, an unqualified supply teacher, who was later accused of racism and grooming girls. Following a thorough investigation, Pead dismissed her on the advice of his line manager, Barry Gilhooly, who subsequently failed to contact the police.
Phyllis Dunipace, Executive Director of Children’s Services, was ultimately responsible for a report which made it appear as though Pead was the culprit. (An echo of Hillsborough).
Brian Pead was then unlawfully suspended on 8 December 2006, without being given any reasons for his suspension.
Lambeth – who, on their own admission, fail to undertake Criminal Records Bureau checks on supply teachers and overseas teachers and staff – then re-employed Murray in an all-girls’ school (Norwood School for Girls).
Council staff removed and destroyed all of the files in his office. (They later repeated this unlawful action with James Walker, former Head Teacher of Henry Fawcett Primary School – click on the button James Walker for further information.
The ICT consultant and father of four, Paul Waters, dressed as a woman and called himself Ermina as he travelled around Lambeth schools, working alongside Murray and Anya Hiley, an unmarried Connexions Adviser.
Allegations were created to remove Pead in a one-sided investigation carried out by Assistant Director, Cathy Twist. Seven original unspecified charges grew to fifteen as she failed to interview any pupils or parents, all of Brian’s staff or any third party apart from Hiley.
Dunipace ratified a decision to dismiss Pead, who then took Lambeth Council to a Tribunal where Judge Anne Martin perversely dismissed his claim in a Hearing which lasted a total of less than 1 day.
Pead was then unlawfully held in prison on a charge of the witness intimidation of his 12 year old granddaughter, Emily, who had never been a witness in any trial or Hearing whatsoever. Upon his release in November 2011, a friend, John Callow, called him to say that another Head teacher, James Walker, had won his case against Lambeth in an 18-day Hearing.
Twist and Gilhooly were castigated by Lambeth MPs Simon Hughes and Kate Hoey for a flawed investigation in which Walker’s office was also ransacked.
Gilhooly retired and Dunipace resigned. She later received an OBE, despite presiding over corrupt investigations, unlawful dismissals and the cover-up of improper child protection practices. Like Martin, Dunipace became a school Governor and maintained access to children and became the gatekeeper for child protection issues.
Driven by a desire for his estranged grandchildren to learn the truth – like the Hillsborough families – Brian Pead embarked upon an emotional journey in which he met Jonathan West, who was investigating St. Augustine’s in Ealing, where Murray had previously taught. Run by Debrett’s-listed Frances Gumley-Mason, it had been reported by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) for inadequate child protection measures. In trying to prevent parents from learning about her failure to report inappropriate staff, she sought an injunction against the ISI.
Gumley-Mason had previously been an advisor to St. Benedict’s School in Ealing, the scene of decades of child abuse where Lord Patten, a former pupil, is currently a school advisor.
Patten, Chairman of the BBC Trust, then found himself embroiled in the Jimmy Savile affair, calling it a “cesspit of abuse” in echoes of what occurred at St. Benedict’s.
This is the true story of one man’s remarkable fight to expose corruption against all the odds and to ensure that his beloved grandchildren would one day learn the truth in the same way as the Hillsborough families.
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