A paedophile teacher at the heart of a class action lawsuit against Havering Council has been pictured by the Romford Recorder.

Our reporter confronted convicted abuser Michael Quinlan, who has been named in several “letters before action” by solicitors compiling the lawsuit.

The video stills from our encounter with Quinlan are the first ever published of the predator, as police failed to release mugshots after his past convictions.

Law firm Andrew Grove & Co is representing 12 people who say they suffered sexually inappropriate behaviour at Gidea Park’s Royal Liberty School between the 1980s and the early 2000s.

The school was then run by Havering Council. It is now run by an academy trust with no link at all to the past alleged offences. No current staff are involved in the alleged abuse.  

Some of the law firm’s clients have named Quinlan - a convicted sex offender who has already admitted abusing some boys at the school – as their abuser.

But he told the Recorder he will deny any fresh allegations raised in the civil suit.

Romford Recorder: Quinlan said he would not admit to any offences other than those for which he had already been convicted in 2004 and 2022Quinlan said he would not admit to any offences other than those for which he had already been convicted in 2004 and 2022 (Image: Charles Thomson)

Quinlan was jailed for 18 months in 2004 after pleading guilty to indecency with male pupils at the school.

The judge ruled he had been “grooming” and then “targeting” boys for his “brand of voyeurism or sexuality”.

In 2022, he was convicted of further offences when new complainants came forward in the wake of the Jimmy Savile fallout.

Despite admitting to being a paedophile with a preference for blond teenage boys, and despite his prior convictions, he was handed a suspended sentence the second time around.

Police did not release any images of Quinlan after either conviction, but the Recorder received an anonymous tip-off that he visited a particular Essex coffee shop at the same time every morning.

The same tipster appears to have contacted Andrew Grove & Co, who received and acted on the same information.

Our reporter arrived at 8.30am on Wednesday, May 1, and observed Quinlan and nine others enjoying a general knowledge quiz.

But after the meeting broke up, Quinlan found himself being quizzed by our reporter instead.

Romford Recorder: Ex-Romford teacher Michael Quinlan said he had already apologised for his past crimes and had nothing to add to his past admissions and apologiesEx-Romford teacher Michael Quinlan said he had already apologised for his past crimes and had nothing to add to his past admissions and apologies (Image: Charles Thomson)

When first approached, he said he wouldn’t answer any questions because he was “in a great hurry” – but he did then stop briefly and give some short responses, saying he was “vaguely” aware of the lawsuit.

“I admitted in court what I’ve done wrong,” he said.

“Do you accept that anybody other than those that you’ve been convicted for was improperly treated?" the Recorder asked.

“No,” Quinlan said.

“Do you want to say anything to the people that you have admitted to?”

“I’ve said everything in court,” he replied.

“And you have nothing more to add?”

“I haven’t no,” he said.

He told the Recorder he wanted to make “no reply, no standing statement” to any further developments in the lawsuit and did not wish to be offered right-of-reply on any future stories.

“Will you offer any statement for the case?” we asked.

“Only through my solicitor,” Quinlan said.

“And would you stipulate to the allegations to speed up the process or would you refute them?”

“Refute, of course, because I’ve admitted all I’ve done.”

Asked whether he wanted to say anything to the school, whose name is now associated with his crimes, or taxpayers who will have to pay the legal bill, Quinlan said: “I’ve always said I’d apologise for my behaviour I’ve pleaded guilty to and the court has dealt with me.”


Our past exclusive reports on the Royal Liberty lawsuit:

The Recorder first reported on the planned lawsuit in February 2023, at which time there were five complainants.

There are now 12 complainants and 10 witnesses, said Andrew Grove & Co, with three different ex-teachers named as alleged abusers, one of whom is Quinlan.

The law firm attributed the huge increase in participants to the Recorder’s sustained reporting.

Some witnesses only joined the legal action after we tracked them down. Several allege that the school had received repeated complaints about Quinlan long before he was eventually brought to justice.

“We are very grateful to the Romford Recorder,” said solicitor Katherine Yates. “Their help has been of huge assistance to our quest for obtaining justice.”

She said there was still time to join the no-win-no-fee lawsuit.

Havering Council has said that it will not comment on live legal cases.

Anybody with information can call 01223 367133 or 07810 224545, or email katherine@andrewgroveandco.com or charlotte@andrewgroveandco.com.