Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 4°C

Search

Former Oakwood School pupils have received more than £2million in compensation from Suffolk County Council

PUBLISHED: 07:47 21 September 2017 | UPDATED: 07:47 21 September 2017

The former Oakwood School in Stowmarket. Picture: ARCHANT

The former Oakwood School in Stowmarket. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

The law firm representing former pupils of the disgraced Oakwood School in Stowmarket say their clients have received more than £2million in compensation from Suffolk County Council.

Solicitor Andrew Grove, of Cambridge-based Andrew Grove and Company, said 123 people who attended the school dating back to the 1970s had received payouts totalling an estimated £2.2m.

Oakwood School closed in 2000 following complaints from pupils alleging various forms of abuse from staff.

In May 2015, Eric De Smith, then aged 76, of Danes Close, Stowmarket, who was headmaster of Oakwood School from 1975 to 1996, was jailed for seven years for sexually abusing four boys who attended the school.

Mr Grove said there was an “atmosphere of violence” at the school.

“Compensation doesn’t really satisfy them because many have lost their childhoods,” he said.

“They have had a terrible school experience, and for some of them, it was for 10 years.

“It was an atmosphere of violence and the fear of violence.

“Living in this atmosphere is very bad for developing children.

“The effects stay with you because that is the age when personalities are forming.”

Mr Grove said the battle for compensation was a traumatic experience for many of his clients.

“Some of them have been waiting for six years,” he said.

“They have had to give long witness statements and tell the story of what happened to them again. Some have been reliving it through the period of the claim.

“Many of them have taken counselling.

“They use the word closure, and closure only comes when they have got the money and can get on with their lives.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “The individual claims were fully investigated and a settlement was made following advice from our legal representatives.

“Oakwood School was a unique establishment in Suffolk which closed in 2000 following serious concerns and Suffolk’s safeguarding measures have significantly improved in line with the relevant legislation.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

A man has died following a stabbing in Ipswich, sparking a murder investigation.

Armed police have shut off a residential street in Ipswich following reports of a stabbing.

Thieves stealing from shops are causing a “constant” problem for town centre police and security teams, it has been revealed.

Blood donors in Suffolk are being urged to keep their lifesaving appointments before Christmas as missed sessions could hit stock levels over the critical festive period.

In his latest column, Ipswich Borough Council leader DAVID ELLESMERE analyses prime minister Theresa May’s tumultuous week at Westmister amid rows over Brexit.

Three youth football teams have been crowned the winners of our ‘Club Together’ campaign – taking home a share of £10,000 to spend on vital sporting equipment for budding stars.

The independent body responsible for triple murderer David McGreavy’s release has insisted it will never free dangerous criminals until it is “convinced” it is safe to do so.

Views being submitted over a “compromise” design for the £3million restoration of a historic Suffolk pier will be discussed next month.

In his latest column, Suffolk police chief constable GARETH WILSON looks at the highs and lows of policing at Christmas - and how you can prevent yourself becoming a victim of crime during the festive season.

One dog at a Suffolk RSPCA centre is facing a second Christmas without a “forever home”.

Most read

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24