Victim still finds memories traumatic

George Robson was convicted of ill-treating Andrew (not his real name), from Norfolk, by encouraging other pupils to beat him up. The fight was punishment for a scuffle that happened before going into the dining room.

George Robson was convicted of ill-treating Andrew (not his real name), from Norfolk, by encouraging other pupils to beat him up.

The fight was punishment for a scuffle that happened before going into the dining room.

He was punched and kicked and left with bruising and eyes so swollen that he had to tilt his head back to see the blackboard in class.

In court, Andrew described how Robson would beat boys with a slipper, taking a two or three-step run-up before hitting them and how he often received four or five strokes at a time.

Andrew was sent to the school when he was about eight because his mother could no longer control him. He had been aggressive towards her and other children and was expelled from his previous school.

He decided to make a complaint in 2003 and his statement to the police was the first time he had spoken to anybody about what had happened.

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“I was there for eight years, I witnessed a lot of stuff,” he said. “I didn't like talking about it, it's embarrassing.”

He saw children being “dechickenised” when Robson was on duty and said children were made to play no-rules rugby.

It was not until his 20s that Andrew began to question his treatment at the school, though he agreed that he received a good education at the school, leaving with an O level and seven CSEs.

“He [George Robson] was a very evil man… I know I have been upset for quite a few years about how we were treated there. I can only assume that there are others.

“I felt a bit guilty, that I should have said something. There was an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.”

Andrew denied accusations by the defence that he was obsessed by the school and had mounted a campaign against it.

“I was pretty frightened of these people. I was afraid to complain,” he said. “People were always running away, they always got returned… These were eight years of bad treatment that we had, these were just some of the events that seemed to stick in my mind.”

Asked why he did not report incidents before, Andrew said: “Nobody really wanted to stand up alone... Most of the staff there were in a position where they could have contacted someone to help us out.

“I still find many memories of the Old Rectory very traumatic… I was of an age when I trusted these people. I was frightened of them, extremely frightened.”

Speaking after the case, Andrew said: “The education was fine, but there were far more serious matters. It's come back to me quite a few times and caused me quite a few problems.”

Andrew got into trouble with the police in his teens and suffered from depression in his late 20s, giving up his work and girlfriend and returning to his home town.

“I can remember through my 20s knowing that what went on wasn't right, but I imagined that nobody wanted to stand up and be counted on their own. I hold myself quite responsible for it going on for such a long time, but not as responsible as I thought the staff there were.”

Andrew said Robson was a “very intimidating man” and described him as “sadistic”.

“The regime came down to a divide and rule kind of thing. People were grassing each other up in the belief that we were gaining favour. We used to look up to the people with the power.

“It was dreadful and I would be extremely surprised if it didn't affect people for some years after they left. It certainly affected me… I never really had any answers.

“I feel we were oppressed to the point where we were left with limited self-esteem about our abilities.

“It's not one specific crime, it's a regime. I feel quite embarrassed and ashamed about it all. I don't know why - after all, we were the victims… Bearing in mind I was eight, it was more or less what I was brought up with. I suppose I thought it was normal.”

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