Oakwood pupils sue for millions

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FORMER pupils of Oakwood School, in Stowmarket, are seeking millions of pounds in damages from Suffolk County Council for alleged physical, emotional and sexual abuse they say they suffered at the school.

In total, 70 former pupils have entered a claim with the damages claim expected to be up to £5 million.

Cambridge-based solicitors Andrew Grove and Co issued formal proceedings in Cambridge County Court on Tuesday.

Allegations made in the court papers include ‘excessive physical punishment’, ‘general physical abuse’ as a daily occurence and ‘unwarranted and excessive beatings by employees’.

Oakwood was a boarding school for boys aged seven-16 who had behavioural and emotional difficulties. It closed in December 1999.

Suffolk Police have been investigating the allegations, but no charges have been brought against anyone.

Andrew Grove said: “Suffolk County Council have known of this claim since June 2011 when 22 claims were identified and since then the numbers have grown to 70.

“Suffolk Police launched operation Oxenton investigating the allegations of abuse and the documents await the CPS decision on charges being laid against the most serious alleged perpetrators.

“The road to compensation can be a long and delayed one but the journey has now started.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We have met with police and the case has been referred to them for investigation.

“While we cannot comment any further on the investigation we would urge people who feel they have any relevant information to contact police to help with their inquiries.”