Whistleblower teacher killed himself after trying to expose ‘exam cheating’


Whistleblower teacher killed himself after trying to expose 'exam cheating'
Leigh Wilde was found hanging in his garage (Picture: MEN Media)

A teacher who became a whistleblower when he suspected exam cheating at his college killed himself the day he was suspended by bosses.

An inquest into the death of Leigh Wilde heard that he was escorted from the premises at Manchester College and later received a letter informing him of his suspension.

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The same day he received the letter, which also contained accusations of bullying and harassment, the 45-year-old, a lecturer at the college’s automotive department, hanged himself in his garage.

South Manchester Coroner’s Court heard how the dad-of-two believed teachers were fraudulently taking tests for students to improve results.

He blew the whistle to the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), and is also said to have told the college’s HR department – though the hearing heard there was no record of this.

Whistleblower teacher killed himself after trying to expose 'exam cheating'
He was a lecturer at the college’s Openshaw Campus (Picture: MEN Media)

Returning a verdict of suicide, coroner Alison Mutch said: ‘From the evidence I have heard towards the end of 2016 Mr Wilde began to have concerns about things that were happening at his workplace.

‘I have heard evidence from those who have looked into this matter that on February 15 he telephoned the IMI to give them a reasonable amount of information, sufficient for them to begin an investigation.’

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The inquest heard that Leigh, from Offerton, noticed apparent discrepancies in test results, raising his suspicions.

But he did not realised why he was suspended until he received the letter on March 16, the same day he died.

His family said the accusations had no substance, and Samantha Halliday, who works in HR for the LTE Group, who runs Manchester College, told the inquest that no issues about Leigh’s behaviour had been raised in any appraisals, which were held three times a year.

Whistleblower teacher killed himself after trying to expose 'exam cheating'
The investigation into alleged exam cheating may be re-opened (Picture: MEN Media)

Speaking after the inquest, his wife Carol, 49, said the allegations were ‘unfounded’ and ‘nothing like him’.

She added: ‘Manchester College has repeatedly and as it turns out fatally failed in its duty to my husband. The consequences of the lack of care is something me and my family will have to live with for the rest of our lives.

‘They are the only people to blame, we were a lovely happy family until the beginning of 2017.

‘Leigh was a lovely dad and a generous, kind man who helped a lot of people. He was quiet, humble and very moral.’

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The coroner said the IMI investigation was unable to progress due to a lack of evidence – but Leigh had evidence on his phone, which police have passed to the IMI, the inquest heard.

The hearing was also told Leigh had suffered with mental health problems, but had been gradually coming off his medication.

A spokesman for Manchester College said: ‘We provided evidence to the inquest as requested by the coroner and we will note the coroner’s verdict and comments. We will review these comments and respond appropriately.

‘We extend our sincere sympathies to family members and colleagues for their loss.’

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