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Paedophile could face large compensation claim

PUBLISHED: 13:12 08 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 16 September 2010

Derek Slade in the 1980s

Derek Slade in the 1980s

Victims of a paedophile headmaster could receive tens of thousands of pounds in compensation following the beatings and sexual assaults that took place at a Norfolk school 30 years ago.

Victims of a paedophile headmaster could receive tens of thousands of pounds in compensation following the beatings and sexual assaults that took place at a Norfolk school 30 years ago.

Derek Slade was beginning his first full day in prison yesterday after being sentenced to 21 years in jail following a catalogue of abuse at St George's School in Wicklewood, near Wymondham, in the late 1970s and early 80s.

The 61-year-old former headmaster could also be financially hit by a “substantial” compensation claim after being convicted of more than 50 counts of serious sexual assault, indecent assault, and actual bodily harm.

Former pupils, who were abused by Slade at St George's at Wicklewood and later at Great Finborough, near Stowmarket, between 1978 and 1983, could be entitled to around £30,000 each following the injuries they received and psychological damage caused by the former head's cruel actions.

Cambridge-based solicitor Andrew Grove, who is coordinating a compensation claim on behalf of former Banham Marshalls College pupils in south Norfolk who were abused by their headmaster over a 30 year period, said the ex-students at St George's had a strong case in the civil courts.

“The conviction is a hurdle crossed and a huge claim will follow. The compensation claim would fall against St George's School if it had an insurance policy. It need not matter that the school has closed down, but insurance may or may not be in force. A claim could also be made against the perpetrator so if Derek Slade has any money or assets, he could have those taken away from him,” he said.

Slade, who had worked at Duncan Hall School at Scratby, near Great Yarmouth, in the mid 1970s before forming St George's was convicted after a jury found him guilty of excessively beating 12 boys with his hand, cane, slipper, and bat during corporal punishment sessions and indecently touching their bare buttocks. The headmaster, who recorded the audio of some of his beatings, also staged midnight feasts where he would invite students to wait on him at dinner before seriously sexually assaulting them.

Slade also admitted possessing 4,000 indecent images of children and possession of a false passport after police raided his home in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, earlier this year. Officers also discovered stories of child abuse written by the former head in ancient Greek.

Mr Grove added that other pupils who were involved in the police investigation, but whose allegations did not proceed to crown court, could also make a successful claim.

“If you were in an abusive school and were seriously abused there is a watermark of £30,000. That is the average pay out and that goes up from there. The psychologists are the ones that give the opinion on the damages that resulted and often that is more than meets the eye,” he said.

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