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Stowmarket: 16 abused ex-pupils of St George’s school may lose out in compensation battle

09:32 18 March 2014

Derek Slade

Derek Slade

Archant

Sixteen out of dozens of former pupils abused at a former Suffolk school could lose out on compensation said to be worth more than £400,000.

According to solicitors representing the claimants payouts of around £1million have already been made through the insurers of St George’s School in Great Finborough near Stowmarket.

The school’s headteacher Derek Slade was jailed for 21 years in 2010 for sexual abuse on 12 boys dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

A civil claim was pursued by ex-pupils who claimed they were abused while studying at St George’s, and at its previous location in Wicklewood, Norfolk.

However, solicitors have said a gap in the insurance covering the school between certain dates could mean some of the claimants may not be paid.

Alan Collins, of Pannone in Manchester, who is acting for eight of the ex-pupils still awaiting their payments, has made a successful application to wind-up Anglemoss, of Great Finborough, the company which owned St George’s.

The Official Receiver’s office in Ipswich is now handling the matter. It has confirmed the winding-up order was made at Manchester District Registry earlier this month. It said it will either deal with the matter itself or a liquidator will be appointed.

Mr Collins estimated the figure his clients were owed was in the region of £200,000.

He added around 14 or 15 other clients had already been paid a total of between £300,000 and £400,000.

Mr Collins said: “I hope for the sake of the clients this will not take too long. They have been through enough. They were let down by the school in the worst possible way and are still waiting for compensation.”

Two other legal firms have said they are also chasing money owed to their clients.

Paul Durkin, of Abney Garsden in Manchester, said he has two former pupils of St George’s who have not been paid a total of around £50,000 plus costs.

He said: “They have won the claim, but have not got the money. It is intensely frustrating. Having won their action everyone now accepts they have been seriously sexually abused and the courts have awarded their payments, but they have not had a penny.”

However, Mr Durkin said his firm had acted for around 15 to 16 ex-students who have received payouts totalling between £400,000 and £500,000.

Charles Derham, of Verisona Law in Portsmouth, said he had six ongoing cases claiming total damages of approximately £180,000.

Mr Derham added he had been involved with 15 other claims which had been settled with damages totalling £418,000, although he said £187,000 is still owed.

An attempt was made to ask Anglemoss for a comment. However, no one could be contacted.

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