Tal Landsman tells of relief and delight at not guilty verdict in LL Camps cruelty trial

EXCLUSIVE: "I will not let my passion for working with children be affected by this case"


Tal Landsman – the co-founder of LL Camps – has spoken out after he was found “not guilty” of cruelty at St Albans Crown Court today.

In his first ever interview, Mr Landsman, 26, has told the JC he was “delighted” with the verdict. He described the case as “a traumatising experience” – but said it had not discouraged him from working with children in the future.

Mr Landsman, a former JFS student, was accused of a single charge of cruelty to a person under the age of 16 after indecent images were discovered on the mobile phone of his colleague Ben Lewis.

The prosecution had claimed that Mr Landsman had not acted after he learned that Mr Lewis, the camp’s fellow co-founder, possessed the indecent images of three-and four-year-old girls. Mr Lewis, 26, has pleaded guilty to three counts of making (downloading) indecent photographs of a child and one of taking an indecent photograph of a child. He is expected to be sentenced in the coming weeks.

However, Mr Landsman was cleared at court today. The jury took just under an hour to acquit Mr Landsman - of Crambus Court, Admiral Drive, Stevenage - whose family and friends were present to see him walk free.

I will not let my passion for working with children be affected by this case

Speaking to this newspaper after the verdict was announced, Mr Landsman, who was defended by barrister Philip Evans QC, stood by his decision not to give evidence at the trial.

He said: “It is for the prosecution to prove their case and, at the closing of their evidence, I did not feel that the case warranted a further response from me given that I had provided a full and detailed account to the police upon their request.”

He said he was “relieved” at the outcome of the trial, adding: “I am delighted that the jury have fully vindicated me.

“Emotionally this has been a traumatising experience including complete betrayal. As a family we have stood strong and knew justice would prevail.

“This ordeal has been hugely emotionally draining on me, my family and my close friends.

“It is times like this that show you who your friends are. Thankfully, I've had an incredible support network throughout this whole experience.”

This time last year, Mr Landsman was working on an government application to open a new primary school in Borehamwood. The so-called LL Primary school, which was scrapped after LL Camps had its registration suspended by Ofsted last August, was set to open in September 2016.

Mr Landsman said he was “disappointed” by this.

He added: “I had great hopes of developing an incredible school.”

Asked what he planned to do in the future, he said: “At the moment my focus is on getting my life back to normal, however, I will not let my passion for working with children be affected by this case and certain people associated with it.”

LL Camps was co-founded by Mr Landsman and Mr Lewis in 2010. It was modelled on American camps and was popular among Jewish families across north-west London.

Mr Landsman still insists that LL Camps “was an outstanding childcare provider”.

He added: “Together with my staff, we always had the care and best interests of those children who attended the camp at heart.”

He confirmed that LL Camps had gone into liquidation. Reflecting on complaints made by parents, who had still not received their full refund, which was promised last summer, he said: “The company has entered into liquidation proceedings and, if parents have not been contacted, I would invite them to make contact with the liquidator.”

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