School mentor in safety-checks ordeal hits out

A kickboxing mentor who endured an 18-month nightmare after being prosecuted for disciplining a teenage boy has hit out after being cleared to work with children again by a national safeguarding body.

Mark Ellwood, 46, was referred to a new Government agency, the

Independent Safeguarding Authority, despite being found not guilty of assaulting the 15-year-old boy at David Lister School in Hull

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

During his ordeal, Mr Ellwood was removed from his wife and two

daughters for a fortnight and forced to sleep on a gym floor, fingerprinted and held in a police cell.

He then faced an investigation by the ISA, set up to prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults.

The agency controls List 99, a register of those who have been banned for life.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The ISA has now concluded its investigation and sent him a letter exonerating him: "We have concluded our enquiries about your case and we have carefully considered all the information available to us. On the basis of this information, we have decided it is not appropriate to include you on the children's or adults' barred list."

Mr Ellwood said: "I was over the moon when I got the letter.

"It is one more box ticked which goes towards clearing my name – which is all I have wanted since the beginning of the whole ugly affair."

Despite the letter, the father-of-two said he remains frustrated that there is still a cloud hanging over him.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: "I have been treated as guilty from the very beginning, this now shows I have not done a thing wrong at any point, but I have been treated poorly. Every time I get some more confirmation of my innocence, it helps.

"It just takes so long. If someone had said to me in the hours after the incident at the school that 18 months later I would still be talking about it I would have had them down as mad.

"The next thing is to continue with my complaint against Humberside Police as to why I was charged in the first place."

The saga began following an incident at the school last January, where Mr Ellwood had been working for three months in a unit for poorly behaving pupils.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Ellwood was removing the boisterous boy from a classroom, after he had been playing with a mobile phone during an art lesson and wearing a jacket.

When he asked the boy to take his coat off and put away his phone, the pupil responded by threatening to stab him, adding: "I will have you killed" before kicking Mr Ellwood, who responded by gently "sweeping" him to the floor in an effort to restrain him, causing no injury.

The boy's parents reported him to the police and the professional kickboxer and veteran of more than 200 bouts prior to his retirement in 2008, was charged with common assault, leading to the battle to clear his name.

Despite the not guilty verdict, Leap Education, the agency with which he was on placement, reported the case to the ISA.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He previously claimed he had been "hung out to dry" by the authorities, warning that a climate of fear in schools meant pupils were often beyond control and teachers were too frightened to discipline them.

Speaking outside Hull Magistrates' Court at the time, he said: "I lost my job, was removed from my family and faced a criminal conviction, only to be found not guilty. If the power is in favour of the pupil you have not got a hope in hell."

Leap Education said "Procedures had to be followed."

Humberside Police said they had not received a complaint.