Plea for witnesses - William Vahey - Southbank International School

Vahey taught history and geography at the Southbank International School in London from 2009 to 2013. Vahey killed himself in Minnesota last month, aged 64, after police filed a warrant to examine his computer drive. The memory stick was later found to contain images of boys who appeared to have been drugged. The photos were catalogued with dates and locations that corresponded with overnight trips Vahey had taken with students since 2008. He had been jailed in California in 1969 for child molestation but went on to teach at schools around the world, including Southbank, a fee paying school. It appears that he failed to sign the sexual offenders' register, which allowed him to slip through the net and go on to work in Caracas, Jakarta, Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, Tehran and Ahwaz in Iran, Athens, Madrid and Beirut. He confessed he had preyed on boys his entire life, giving them sleeping pills prior to the molestation. In a letter to parents on Friday, Graham Lacey, executive principal at Southbank, urged any pupils who had experienced anything disturbing to come forward. He wrote: "As a staff we feel upset, angry and betrayed. We can only imagine what you as parents must feel." he letter added details of the checks that were made when Vahey joined the school, when he was subject to a Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) check, which is standard procedure and revealed nothing untoward. second check, three years later, produced similarly positive results and Mr Lacey added that three references the school obtained were "outstanding" and "specifically stated that there were no safeguarding issues". He said there had been one incident that occurred, which was investigated by school management at the time, but both the parents and the child stated they did not want to pursue the matter any further. We are seeking individuals whom may have been abused by Vahey or knew of his abuse. If you can assist please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence.


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims

"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."

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