Former headmaster and an ex master of the school face charges of abuse relating to pupils in their care during the period of 1966 to 1972. Both men deny the charges against them.
David Burns former headmaster of St Gilbert’s Approved School and Vincent Rochford an ex master of the school, both 87 are on trial at the Birmingham Crown Court for charges of abuse against the boys in their care.
Burns faces 2 charges of serious sexual assault, 1 charge of indecent assault, 16 charges of cruelty and 2 charges of actual bodily harm. Rochford has been charged with 1 count of child cruelty and 1 count of actual bodily harm. The trial involves 16 complainants who are all now in their 60’s.
St Gilbert’s was an Approved school for boys in Worcestershire and closed in 1986. It was run by the Catholic De La Salle Order of Christian Brothers under the governance of the Home Office.
The Court has heard evidence from a victim who described that as a school boy he was made to, “strip and lie on a table before being canned from the neck down.” He told the Police that, “he was once hit 24 times for running away causing him bleeding and severe bruising, making it hard for him to walk.” He described Burns as a “violent man”.
Whilst corporal punishment was lawful at this time, the Prosecuting QC, Tracy Ayling told the Court that the government rules on the use of the punishment were “ regularly broken.”
St Gilbert’s Approved School has been subject to other allegations of sexual and physical abuse by former members of staff. Shockingly, a former head of the school was convicted of 6 counts of sexually abusing boys at St Gilbert’s but was reinstated to his post as a teacher after serving a 4 year prison sentence.
Operation Quail has investigated allegations of abuse at the school dating back to the 1950’s, whilst many of alleged abusers were thought to have died West Mercia Police has remained committed to the investigation and locating as many of those involved as possible.
The trial is expected to last between 6 to 8 weeks.
Jordans Solicitors represent victims who suffered abuse at St Gilbert’s Approved School. We have a dedicated team of highly specialised lawyers who can ensure that our claim is handled sensitively, enabling you to secure the best level of compensation from those responsible for your traumatic experiences.