Stubton Hall School abuse survivors’ legal battle with CC could take 2 more years.

Story from Lincolnite. Author: Joseph Verney

The solicitor working on the case of over 50 abuse survivors from Stubton Hall near Grantham believes they could still be battling defendants Lincolnshire County Council in two years’ time.

Fifty-one former pupils came forward to solicitors Andrew Grove & Co with complaints about the school, which was owned and managed by the county council until it closed permanently in 2003. The current owners are in no way connected to this litigation.

Lincoln man David Taylor, who was the deputy headteacher at the school near Grantham, was jailed for over 19 years in 2021 after being convicted of several sexual offences. Head of Care Raymond Longley was also sentenced to four years in prison.

Taylor, 71, of Brayford Wharf North, Lincoln and Raymond Longley, 86, of Back Lane, Caythorpe, were convicted of several sexual offences at the former Stubton Hall School, spanning over a 20-year period between 1983 and 1995.

Taylor was found guilty of three counts of rape, four counts of indecent assault on a girl and two counts of assault, ill treat, neglect of a child or young person. The charges related to five separate victims. Longley was also found guilty of four counts of indecent assault on a girl, relating to three separate victims.

After a lengthy process, the county council has now started settling the claims made by former pupils, saying it is “working to make payments as swiftly as possible.” However, the victims and their solicitors have been angered by the delays.

Eight claimints agreed settlements totalling £267,500 and only two were said to have received their damages within the 14-day limit mandated by court rules. The others received their money eventually, but not within the required timeframe, and only completed by February 19, 2024.

There has been no significant progress with the other 43 claimants, so papers are with the court for issuing formal proceedings.

Katherine Yates, Partner in Andrew Grove & Co, told us: “We are in it for the long haul. They are not the easiest of defendants to deal with, but I am pleased we have issued court proceedings as the court will be undertaking a supervisory role.

“As for timescale, I’d love to say within a year, but I don’t think so. We could still be here in two years time. I hope I’m wrong.”

She added that Lincolnshire County Council previously demanded the abuse survivors paid £7,000 in wasted court costs after a previous hearing was adjourned last year. However, the claimants will no longer have to pay this.

The trauma the victims endured has been added to by the delayed payments.

“[The council] seems to have a casual approach to court rules regarding compensation payments to claimants,” she said. “This isn’t good enough for a local authority.

“When people don’t have a lot of money, especially in a cost of living crisis with bills going through the roof, and they think they have money coming in, they count on it.

“When the case is settled and they say it will be paid within 14 days is when the claimants see the line in the sand. Then it doesn’t happen and it is disappointing for us too, and we are very cross about it.

“A lot of our claimants have been disadvantaged throughout their whole lives and are not in a good financial position, so they depend on this money.

“It is not just abuse the individuals suffered, but they saw it going on all around them, which is not a good environment to live and learn in.”

The solicitor also believes there are “a lot more victims out there” and says it is “not too late” for them to be added to the court proceedings. Anyone wishing to come forward about this case can contact Andrew Grove & Co on 01223 367133.

“I know there are other victims out there,” she said. “Some will choose to deal with their experiences by locking it away, which is absolutely fine, but for those people who have nightmares, problems with relationships, can’t hold down a job, and are still suffering, it is worth coming forward to talk about it.

“It is like legal therapy. When you’re young and told nobody will believe you if you say anything, there is a lot of silencing that goes on, and it can be quite therapeutic to be told to speak out.”

Tara Jones, assistant director children’s safeguarding at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We continue to express deep regret over the abuse suffered by the victims in this case, and wish to apologise to them.

“We are aware of the agreements that have now been reached with some of the victims and are working to make payments as swiftly as possible.”

We contacted the county council to give it the opportunity to issue a further response, but it did not want to add to its previous statement.

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