Ex-pupils seek compensation after abuse at former Norfolk school

Ex-pupils of a former private school near Wymondham have begun legal action against the company that ran it following years of sexual and physical abuse.

More than 30 former students of St George's School in Wicklewood and Great Finborough near Stowmarket have launched compensation proceedings following the abuse they received in the 1970s and 80s.

The cases, involving 35 men educated at the former school, could lead to payouts totalling more than �1m if successful, one expert has said.

Three of the country's leading law firms which specialise in child abuse cases are representing the former pupils.

The legal action has resulted from the conviction of the school's former head Derek Slade, who was jailed for 21 years at Ipswich Crown Court last year.

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Slade was convicted of abusing 12 pupils over a five-year period in the late 1970s and early 1980s at the school in Wicklewood, which relocated to Great Finborough in 1980.

However, since the 62-year-old's sentencing, a further 23 ex-pupils have also made allegations and are now pursuing claims against Anglemoss Ltd, the company which ran St George's.

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The insurance companies which underwrote Anglemoss Ltd at the time have been made aware of the legal action. Law firm Abney Garsden McDonald, of Cheadle Hulme, near Manchester, is representing many of those Slade was convicted of abusing.

Its principal Peter Garsden, who is also president of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, said: 'We are taking action on behalf of about 13 victims of abuse. All of them are badly damaged psychologically by his actions and feel very angry at the way in which he abused his position as headmaster at the school.

'The damages being claimed are unlimited. However, no amount of compensation offered will ever rectify the harm caused, or bring back the sort of childhood they should have had.'

Hampshire-based Verisona, is pursuing claims on behalf of 18 former pupils of the boarding school which mainly catered for children of military personnel. And Manchester law firm Pannone, is representing four clients.

A spokesman for Anglemoss Ltd said: 'There has been correspondence from solicitors acting for former pupils of St George's School for the period 1977 to 1982 and which has been passed on to insurers.'

Slade, of Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was convicted of more than 50 offences, including serious indecent, indecent assaults, actual bodily harm, 17 child pornography offences, and having a false passport.

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