Child sex abuse victim's case anger

By Danielle NuttallCrime CorrespondentA VICTIM of a convicted child sex abuser criticised the legal system last night after learning he could not go ahead with a case to sue the former music teacher.

By Danielle Nuttall

Crime Correspondent

A VICTIM of a convicted child sex abuser criticised the legal system last night after learning he could not go ahead with a case to sue the former music teacher.

Antony Arnold, 35, was one of three child sex abuse victims involved in a civil action against former band leader Derek Cable for the suffering he caused them as teenagers during the 1970s and 1980s.

Cable, 63, who previously taught music at Stowmarket Middle School, was jailed for four years in September last year after a jury convicted him of 10 offences of indecent assault and eight of gross indecency against five boys.

The abuse had occurred while Cable was music director and conductor of the Stowmarket School Concert Band, which he had founded in 1961.

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At least six people who claimed to be among Cable's victims had approached a solicitor with a view to sue the former teacher and the early stages of a case was prepared for three of them.

But Mr Arnold revealed last night the case had hit a brick wall because the allegations made against Cable were historical.

Potential claimants only have a three-year period to make a personal injury claim after the time when they were allegedly injured.

The victims were teenagers at the time of the abuse and criminal proceedings against Cable were only concluded last year.

Mr Arnold said the case also involved too much investigation work for it to proceed on a no-win no-fee basis and the trio could not afford to cover the cost of legal action on their own.

The former band member, who was forced to walk naked at Cable's home as a child, spoke of his anger last night that victims of historic sex abuse cases found it difficult to obtain injury damages despite Britain's apparent "compensation culture".

"You watch television adverts saying 'I tripped over a pin at work and received £5,000 for my bruised knee' and then we get told we can't go any further," said Mr Arnold.

"There are people who have been abused like us and could not speak about it at the time and are now suffering for it.

"We are more genuine and deserving than most, but it's the historical factor. We cannot afford to bring our own prosecution.

"I feel terrible. I am trying to forget about it as there is not much I can do now. I would like to think maybe at some point we can do it because we are all still really keen, but this is a big setback."

Tony Mills, of Exeter-based Tozers Solicitors, who was looking into the case for the victims, said: "There is not legal aid for personal injuries any more. In order to investigate, a considerable amount of investigation work needs to be undertaken. None of the applicants are in a position to fund this.

"Basically, you have until three years to bring a claim for personal injury and they were injured when they were children. The sex abuse laws are developing and are far more sophisticated. A lot of time and investigation is needed to do this."

Cable's band played throughout Europe and the USA and gained a prestigious reputation. But at his trial, Norwich Crown Court heard the music teacher had a "dark side" and plied boys with money, drink and cigarettes and left magazines showing pictures of naked men and women.

Mr Arnold, from Norwich, was one of the victims who gave evidence against Cable during the trial, telling the court how he had been made to walk about his house naked while staying with the former band leader as a child when his parents were in Australia.

Cable was arrested in April 2002 when he returned to Suffolk from his home in Singapore for a band reunion.

A prosecution followed and Cable, of Edgecombe Road, Stowmarket, was charged with two allegations of indecency.

As more victims came forward, he was finally charged with 21 offences of indecent assault and indecency against five boys, all of which he denied. Cable was found guilty of 10 offences of indecent assault and eight of gross indecency.

Mr Arnold, a father of two, said Cable's victims were now trying to move on with their lives and hoped one day a civil prosecution could be brought.

"We are just hanging on in there to see what happens and get on with our lives. Luckily, he's in prison and I can see the prison from my house," he added.

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