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March 25th 2021

Abuse

Recollections of alleged abuse from a former St Vedast school pupil

Recollections of alleged abuse from a former St Vedast school pupil

After Hudgell Solicitors secured over £1.5 million in damages for dozens of former students of privately run London schools, our client, a former pupil, shares memories of how the alleged abuse throughout the 70s and 80s unfolded for him.

After Hudgell Solicitors secured over £1.5 million in damages for dozens of former students of privately run London schools, our client, a former pupil, shares memories of how the alleged abuse throughout the 70s and 80s unfolded for him.

Senior Solicitor Malcolm Johnson and his specialist team continue to fight for victims of the historical abuse and recently confirmed that the St James/St Vedast compensation scheme time limit has been extended to the 30th June 2021.

Our client, who wishes to remain unnamed, has shared some of his experiences.

Now 51 years of age, these happenings took place over 8 years, beginning at the age of just 9.

Beatings were ‘very painful’

Our client recalls receiving the cane on up to 15 separate occasions, each consisting of multiple strokes.

Usually, canings would happen over the trousers, but there was one caning where this was not the case. On this occasion, our client in fact received 6 strokes to his bare skin at the age of just 12. This beating left visible marks on his body.

This time, the punishment was given after seven pupils were caught stealing from a shop and everyone involved received 6 strokes, with the demand that their trousers were down.

“I had whip marks that came right round to the front of my legs and which almost caught my genitals.

“The cane would bend as it hit.

“Sometimes the cane would splinter and shatter on your body.”

Canings at the school came for a variety of ‘reasons’, our client recalls a number of times where he had been whipped for not doing homework and another where he received 3 strikes just for swearing after injuring his hand.

On one occasion, every single member of a class received the punishment because just one person was in possession of a pea-shooter.

The use of a cane, however, was not the only form of physical abuse our client experienced. In his time with the school there was a wide variety of physical and emotional abuse.

Our client felt like he got on relatively well with his form tutor, but once or twice a year he would still be hit across the bottom with a slipper by even him.

In a specific incident before a class had started, a maths teacher at the school struck him hard on top of the head, causing our client to lose control of his bladder and urinate on himself. This left a long standing memory of a class full of pupils staring and laughing.

It wasn’t just beatings that caused trauma however. Teachers would watch whilst the students showered and were often very strict about not wearing underwear whilst playing sport. Experiences that even at such a young age, felt very uncomfortable.

Our client performed well in sports, but states that no matter how hard anyone tried, it was simply not enough to avoid being frequently yelled at.

A Geography teacher is remembered for the numerous times he would put his face right up flush to the students’ faces, when it was puce red and he would threaten the children. This would happen almost weekly.

Life after St Vedast

These are just a few recollections of one student at the school during this period.

Whilst our client exclaims that it is very hard to comprehend the part the abuse has played in later life, he does believe it has had an effect and brought a real lack of confidence.

Our client has suffered with depression in his time since leaving the school.

The memories our client recalled took place in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Malcolm Johnson comment:

“Our client approached us in connection with abuse that he had sustained at a private school in West London, St Vedast for eight years in the late seventies/early eighties. During his time as a pupil at the school, he had suffered serious physical and emotional abuse from the teachers.

Hudgell solicitors have now settled 75 claims brought by former pupils at the school and they have been approached by a further 70 former pupils. We were able to begin negotiations to settle our client’s claims, send a letter of claim and inside of a year, secure a five-figure compensation offer for him.”

Damages of over £1.5 million to pupils

Damages totalling over £1.5 million have been secured by Hudgell Solicitors for dozens of former students of privately run schools in London where it is alleged they were subjected to ‘a physically and emotionally violent regime’ throughout the 70s and 80s.

The claims relate to treatment of pupils over two decades at St James and St Vedast schools, which were established as an independent educational charity in 1975 by members of the School of Economic Science (SES).
The schools have either given or offered apologies to each of our clients together with an offer of a meeting with the governors.

Chris De Vere

The story of Chris De Vere, which you can read here, was similar. Chris stated how he was constantly made to feel ‘worthless’ and was ‘beaten and humiliated’ by teachers.

It is important that victims are able to find some closure. We therefore would like to re-stress that a time-limit is in place for former pupils of St James/St Vedast to claim compensation.

Upcoming deadline

It was originally announced that the St James/St Vedast Schools compensation scheme would close on the 31st January 2021. Following discussions between Malcolm Johnson and Berrymans Lace Mawer, the schools’ solicitors, the school has agreed to extend that time limit to the 30th June 2021.

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