Forty abused ex-Banham Marshalls College students receive compensation

Ex-students of a Norfolk private school have begun to receive compensation of up to �50,000 each, more than four years after a child abuse case concluded.

Almost half of the claimants in a civil action against the former Banham Marshalls College, near Attleborough, have had their claims settled following the abuse they received whilst at the special school between 1974 and 2004.

Owner and headmaster George Robson, 66, died of heart failure the day after he was handed a suspended sentence for child cruelty offences at Norwich Crown Court in November 2007.

Cambridge-based solicitor Andrew Grove, who represents 92 compensation cases, said 40 of the former Banham Marshalls students had received settlements of between �10,000 and �50,000 from the college's insurers Aviva, EIG and AXA.

However, the remaining claimants are still awaiting psychiatric assessments and may take 'several years' to resolve, he said. He added that the settlement of almost half of the cases had given some closure to Robson's victims.

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'It helps them in that they would see they have been believed and it helps them to have a bit of cash to spend.

The Old Rectory people are a pretty nice bunch of people. Many are accomplished, bright, funny and doing well in their careers and others are self-destructive.'

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'The settlements depend on how long they were there, the level of abuse and whether their future earnings were effected,' he said.

Three claims against the estate of George Robson, which were not covered by insurance, have yet to be settled and are set to go to a county court trial, which involve former pupils Barry Quayle and Neil Matthewson, who have since died.

The remaining cases will be assessed at a review hearing at the end of February.

The former independent day and boarding school, which began life as the Old Rectory School, closed in 2004 and accommodated children from 24 local authorities with special educational needs.

Compensation proceedings were first launched in August 2008 following the conviction of Robson and other members of staff for child cruelty offences.

The college site is now used by the Eagle House School, which has no connection with the former Banham Marshalls management.

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