Eton College Abuse Survivors Praised for Speaking Out After Teacher is Jailed for 10 Years

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Liam Goggin

Partner, Head of Abuse Claims

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TW: This article covers themes of sexual abuse

Simon Henderson, the Headmaster at Eton College has praised former pupils for their “extraordinary courage and dignity” after speaking out about the sexual abuse they suffered while studying at the prestigious boarding school.

Matthew Mowbray, 49, the former geography teacher at Eton College, was charged at Reading Crown Court in December 2020 with 15 sexual offences against Eton pupils in his 27-year teaching career. By day Mowbray taught geography at the school, but by night, he would visit students in their bedrooms, under the guise of discussing their ‘schoolwork’ – before sexually abusing them.

He’s been jailed for five years after pleading guilty to six counts of making indecent images of children and one of voyeurism after secretly filming a boy getting dressed. Voyeurism is the act of viewing and/or recording someone whilst they undress, and/or are naked.

Many of Mowbray’s victims are continuing to suffer with depression, anxiety, stress, and physical and psychological distress, according to Resident Judge Heather Norton QC, the Judge handling his case.

Child abuse can have long lasting effects on victims, and even when their perpetrator is charged, this won’t always give victims the full closure and justice that they need.

Our Child Abuse Solicitors have supported many victims of child abuse to rebuild their lives and get the justice they deserve. We understand that talking about abuse can be extremely traumatic, but our patient and empathetic Solicitors are here for you should you decide to speak out.

Everything you tell us will be handled with complete confidence. If you decide to take legal action, we can look at handling your case on a No Win, No Fee basis or you might be entitled to Legal Aid – ask us for details when you get in touch.

Get in touch today!

If you are a survivor of abuse and want to know more about how we can help, get in touch with our team on 0808 239 1287 or

What Did Mowbray Do?

As well as visiting boys’ bedrooms at night, Mowbray downloaded hundreds of indecent images of children to his computer and edited students’ faces onto the naked bodies of unknown children. When he was arrested for these crimes, the police originally found around 4,500 indecent images if children on his computer.

The findings in his legal charges are as follows:

  1. eight offences of sexual activity with male children under the age of 16, between 1 September 2012 and 14 May 2019 contrary to the Sexual Offences Act, s.9(a)
  2. six offences of making indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of children between 14 July 2019 and 23 May 2019 contrary to the Protection of Children Act 1978 s.1(a)
  3. one offence of voyeurism, recording a person doing a private act on 23 May 2019 contrary to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, s67(3).

Along with the five-year sentence that was granted, he was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years, and will remain on the sex offenders register for life.

Victims were brave in bringing Mowbray to Justice

Witness statements from the victims describe how one pupil “felt really uncomfortable and just froze,” while another told the police that Mowbray would “take photographs all the time.” One victim said he was “shocked and embarrassed” after Mowbray groped his bottom with a “forceful squeeze”.

One brave child in the trial stated they were visited by the geography teacher in his bedroom at night up to four times per week; where he then found a recording device hidden under his wardrobe.

It’s thought that Mowbray was able to get away with the abuse for so long because pupils may have felt as though their report wouldn’t be taken as seriously, as it would have for a “more overt sexual act”, despite how uncomfortable the abuse made them feel.

Speaking to Matthew Mowbray directly in Court, Resident Judge Heather Norton QC said “You knew what you were doing was wrong but you continued to take the opportunities afforded to you to abuse children for your own gratification,” in the “grossest breach of trust.”

The Judge also added; “over a period of years and in respect of a number of children, you breached their trust, the trust of the families who placed their children in your care, and the trust of the school who had appointed you.”

The long-lasting effects that would have been inflicted onto the children who were abused will be something that will never be forgotten. Along with their mental distress, their physical and psychological stress will live with them forever. We commend the children in the case for standing up and speaking out about these heinous crimes of this individual and hope this can, if not just a little bit, bring a sense of well-deserved justice.

Teacher misconduct panel outcome

On May 24th 2022, the government announced a professional conduct panel decision to consider the case of Matthew Mowbray. He is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England. Due to the severity of the case, he will also never be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach, which is a welcome result for someone of this stature.

Mr Mowbray was in breach of the following standards:

Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by:

  • Treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position
  • Having regard for the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions
  • Teachers must have proper and professional regard for the ethos, policies and practices of the school in which they teach, and maintain high standards in their own attendance and punctuality.

Teachers must have an understanding of, and always act within, the statutory frameworks which set out their professional duties and responsibilities.

How Can Simpson Millar Help You?

If you’ve suffered at the hands of an abuser, even if it took place a long time ago, our Abuse Claims Solicitors can help you. We’ve helped many survivors get justice and compensation after they’ve courageously come forward.

We know that taking the first step to talk isn’t easy, so we’ll do everything we can to make things as smooth as possible for you. And if you decide to make a claim for compensation, one of our Solicitors will be happy to talk through your options with you.

As well as making sure you’re fairly compensated for your suffering, our experienced Abuse Solicitors can help you access a large network of support and survivor groups, so you’ll never be short of any further help and support you need.

If you’ve been affected by Matthew Mowbray during your time at Eton College, please don’t hesitate to speak out, by calling us on 0808 239 6621. Our compassionate and understanding Solicitors are just a phone call away, and will be with you every step of the way.

How Do I Pay for a School Abuse Claim?

Your legal costs for a School Abuse Claim can be paid for by:

  • Legal Aid – this will be calculated depending on your financial circumstances
  • No Win, No Fee – this means you won’t pay any legal fees if your claim is unsuccessful
  • Private funding – where you pay the legal fees directly

How do I report the abuse to the police?

You can read our reporting guide or give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk you through the process.

Seeking compensation will not take away what has happened but it can help secure your future access to treatment should it be needed and provide a sense of justice over the abuser, and in this case, the school who should have kept you or your child safe.


Daily Mail. (Publication date: December 3, 2020). "Disgraced Eton College teacher GUILTY of sexually abusing boys." Available at:

Ministry of Justice. (Publication date not specified). "Mowbray Decision." Available at:

Healthline. (Publication date not specified). "Voyeurism: Definition, Causes, and Treatment." Available at:

  1. Mayo Clinic. (Publication date not specified). "Depression." Available at:
  1. (Publication date not specified). "Matthew Guy Howard Mowbray." Available at:
  1. The Law Pages. (Publication date not specified). "Court Cases: Matthew Guy Howard Mowbray." Available at:
  1. UK Legislation. (Publication date not specified). "Sexual Offences Act 1978." Available at:
  1. UK Legislation. (Publication date not specified). "Sexual Offences Act 2003." Available at:
  1. Daily Mail. (Publication date: December 2, 2020). "Eton College teacher made pupils freeze as he stroked their legs." Available at:
Profile picture of Liam Goggin

Liam Goggin

Partner, Head of Abuse Claims

Areas of Expertise:
Abuse Claims

Liam works as the Head of the Department in Abuse Claims at Simpson Millar.

In this role, he oversees a team of experienced abuse lawyers and is a part of our Leadership Team. His primary focus is on Child Abuse Claims, and he handles cases against schools, local authorities, religious and charitable organisations, private companies, and notably cases for individuals who have been criminally convicted of offences.

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