Found out Again, Bogus Scot Whose Tartan Tales Turned out to Be Pie in the Skye; Teacher Forced to Resign for Fourth Time after His Life Is Exposed as a Lie

Daily Mail (London), February 16, 2004 | Go to article overview

Found out Again, Bogus Scot Whose Tartan Tales Turned out to Be Pie in the Skye; Teacher Forced to Resign for Fourth Time after His Life Is Exposed as a Lie


Byline: DAWN THOMPSON

WHEN he applied for a senior position at a top public school, Dr Scott Peake's credentials certainly looked impressive.

He had played cricket and shinty for Scotland, spoke fluent Gaelic and had been an actor and broadcaster.

Staff were not to know his background was a fabrication as colourful as the tartan trews he liked to wear.

Now the man known as Walter McMitty has had to resign for the fourth time in two years after his claims to a Scottish pedigree, an impressive sporting background and even a Scottish accent were exposed as fantasy.

His latest downfall came when a pupil at [pounds sterling]21,500a-year Bedales School in Hampshire, where Dr Peake was head of classics, put his name into an Internet search engine and his true history was revealed.

Although Dr Peake had told pupils and fellow staff members that he was from the island of Raasay, off Skye, the truth was less romantic - he was born in Woolwich, South London.

As for his fluent Gaelic, which he claimed was his only language until he went to school, he could speak only a few words.

The 14-year-old boy who discovered his murky past told his family Dr Peake had repeated claims that were first disproved in November 2001.

When asked about any part of his past, he simply responded with further fabrication.

When the boy mentioned to Dr Peake that he had a relative who came from Colonsay, the teacher told him he had visited the island but left immediately after he met a man who was his double while walking away from the ferry.

Confronted by rector Keith Budge last month, Dr Peake resigned.

Mr Budge said he had no reason to doubt Dr Peake because his references from a previous post at Dollar Academy in Clackmannanshire were good.

He added: 'During his four terms at Bedales he quickly established himself as an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and energetic teacher of classics. …

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