Court hearing date should be announced soon in Norfolk cruelty case

A date should be announced soon for a court hearing into a compensation claim against the estate of an abusive headteacher convicted of child cruelty offences at a Norfolk special school.

The family of Barry Quayle is making a claim for �30,000 compensation on the estate of George Robson for abuse he suffered at his hands while a pupil at Banham Marshalls College, formerly the Old Rectory, for five years between the ages of 11 and 16. A hearing will take place at Cambridge County Court in December or January, though a definite date should be known within the next week. So far, settlements have been reached in 50 of the 119 damages claims brought by Robson's former pupils for physical and psychological abuse suffered at the school between 1974 and 2004. Most claims are covered by insurance but cases supported by a personal conviction against Robson, who died of heart failure the day after being sentenced in November 2007, have to be met out of his family's estate.

Father-of-three Mr Quayle died of a stroke in July 2006, leaving three sons who were financially dependent upon him. Andrew Grove, a solicitor acting for Mr Quayle, said any compensation settlement would be divided between the three boys.

However, he added Robson's family, including his widow Sheena and son Paul, were contesting the claim vigorously on the grounds they should not have to pay out when the claimant had died and the claims were too old and should not proceed.

But Mr Grove said the judge at Huntingdon Crown Court lifted the 'time bar' on the grounds that Robson's conviction five years ago would have jogged his victims' painful memories of the abuse.

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