Former school pupil tells of alleged abuse

A PUPIL at two former schools run by a headmaster accused of sexually and physically abusing young boys in his care nearly 30 years ago has described to a court the “profound” effect the alleged abuse had on his life.

The witness, who has since spent six years in the army and is now a director of sales for a large company, frequently had to compose himself as he recalled his time at the former St George’s schools at Great Finborough, near Stowmarket and Wicklewood in Norfollk under the headship of Derek Slade.

He told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that he had never been able to tell his parents about his alleged treatment at the two schools between 1978 and 1981 when he was aged around 10-13. “It would destroy them. What happened has had a profound effect on my life,” he said.

He said it was in the last few years while he was looking at his two young sons aged eight and nine and realising how small and vulnerable they were that he decided to some research into the two schools.

“I wanted to find out why this was allowed to happen to us,” he said.

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The witness said that while he was at the former school in Wicklewood he was unable to telephone home and any letters he wrote were checked before they went into the post.

He said that on one occasion he tried to beat the system by slipping a second letter telling his parents that he was being beaten and wanted to come home into the postbag.

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He said that on discovering the letter Slade had dragged him out of the lunch queue and frogmarched him to his office and allegedly “whacked” him for breaking the rules.

He said he was then forced to rewrite the letter and to tell his parents that he was well.

He also recalled an incident when there was a “ruck” involving a number of boys during which he was thrown to the ground and broke a tooth. He said that although he was given some painkillers by the school matron he wasn’t taken to the dentist until the next day. He said because the nerve in his tooth was exposed he had difficulty eating and when he spilled some soup on his white jumper Slade had gone “nuts” and had taken him to his office and allegedly beaten him after getting him to remove his shorts and pants.

On another occasion Slade had lost his temper after the witness made a mess of a model plane he had been asked to paint. The boy, who had been sitting on Slade’s knee at the time, was slapped so hard that he fell to the ground and had a nose bleed.

He said his ear had been ringing from the force of the blow and when he was taken to the matron Slade allegedly told her he had fallen off a chair.

Slade, 61, of Burton-on-Trent has denied six charges of assault, five of indecent assault and four of buggery. He has admitted 15 charges of indecent assault and four charges of assault.

The trial continues today.

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