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Former Archway headteacher tells of fraud arrest ordeal

Locked in a police cell and suspended from his job, 74-year-old has now been told he is no longer under investigation

12 October, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Tom Mannion: ‘The last nine months have been shocking’

A FORMER headteacher has been exonerated after he was arrested as part of a fraud investigation at an Archway school.

Tom Mannion, 74, was locked in a police cell for three hours after officers arrested him at St Aloysius’ RC College, in Hornsey Lane, in January before releasing him under investigation.

But after nine months during which he was suspended from a role he held for 14 years, Mr Mannion has been told by police no further action will be taken against him.

He told the Tribune: “The last nine months have been shocking. It meant my retirement was brought forward a couple of months, which I understand, but it doesn’t alter the fact that I’m extremely disappointed by the way my career ended after many, many years of teaching.”

Police are continuing to investigate the alleged fraud, believed to centre on missing MacBook com­puters bought through the school’s accounts.

Mr Mannion was awarded an OBE in 2015 and credited with helping to improve pupil standards at the boys’ school.

He is now having a “long, hard think” about whether he will take any further action over how his case was handled.

“We should’ve worked together to find out precisely what had happened and that would have saved some time in my opinion,” he said.

In September, he met Islington CID, who told him he was no longer under investigation.

“That was a real relief, but I knew I was completely and utterly innocent. Nevertheless, it is a relief that it is kind of over in that sense,” he said. “I quite literally had done nothing wrong.”

He added: “What’s been good is meeting ex-pupils. They tell me to keep my chin up, that it’ll be all right in the end.

“It’s been very difficult, as you can imagine, travelling and seeing youngsters going to school saying: ‘There’s so and so who has been arrested for fraud’.”

He is now requesting the Diocese of Westminster, which has overall control of the Roman Catholic school, informs parents and his former colleagues of the outcome.

“I’m still a bit numb to be honest,” he said.

“I’ve been travelling, decorating, trying to fill my time, but it’s really quite difficult to have worked for many years for the Westminster Diocese and for it to end in this way.”

The diocese and the Met Police declined to comment yesterday (Thursday) as the matter is still under investigation.

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