Abused pupils must come forward - judge
FORMER pupils who suffered abuse at a Cambridgeshire boarding school need to come forward by the end of the year if they want to join a mass compensation claim, a judge has ordered. Last week, county court district judge, Robert Blomfield, introduced a c
FORMER pupils who suffered abuse at a Cambridgeshire boarding school need to come forward by the end of the year if they want to join a mass compensation claim, a judge has ordered.
Last week, county court district judge, Robert Blomfield, introduced a "cut-off" date for people joining a group action which has 121 claimants and has been going on for five years.
The ex-pupils of Ellindon School in Peterborough, including many from Huntingdonshire, are seeking compensation from Cambridgeshire County Council for abuse, including rape.
Judge Blomfield said former pupils wishing to claim compensation following their time at Ellindon should make themselves known to the solicitors handling the claim by December 31.
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After that date, court permission will be needed to join the group. The legal action relates to the whole of the school's existence from 1981 to when it was closed in May 1998.
The school was opened as a residential school for children with emotional and behaviour difficulties. Among the claimants in the current group is a woman, now in her 30s, from Huntingdon who has described being raped by school staff at the age of 13 and a mother from Ramsey whose son was found hanging in his bedroom aged 14.
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In some cases, children were fostered by teachers at the boarding school and the abuse, in Judge Blomfield's words, "arched" between the foster home and the school.
The judge has called for a police investigation into the abuse and several of the staff have been named in court.
Solicitor Kathy Yates, from Andrew Grove and Company, the solicitors in the case, said: "Many claimants suffered severe sexual abuse as well as emotional and physical ill treatment while they were at Ellindon School, including many from Huntingdonshire."
Mrs Yates said further worrying evidence was emerging from the litigation about children being abused in more than one Cambridgeshire children's home.
"We have people in the Ellindon claim who were previously victims of Keith Laverack, former head of a home called Midfield and a career paedophile who was jailed for 18 years in 1997. It is bad enough that a child should be abused once in care but to be abused twice at different establishments is tragic."
She added: "The door is still open for former Ellindon pupils to come forward but it is vital that they come forward now. We have a group litigation order in force which allows people to join the action until December 31. After that date, people will still be able to come forward and make a claim for compensation but they will need to apply to the court."
INFORMATION: Contact Andrew Grove and Company at 11 Norfolk Street, Cambridge, CB1 2LD. Telephone 01223 367133. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.andrewgroveandco.com