Oakwood pupil ‘locked in room overnight in underwear’

The old Oakwood School in Stowmarket.

The old Oakwood School in Stowmarket. - Credit: Archant

The former deputy head of a Suffolk school where children were allegedly subjected to a “regime of abusive behaviour” ordered a boy to strip to his underwear and locked him in a boot room overnight, it has been claimed.

The former pupil, who is now 51, told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court he was taken to the boot room at Oakwood school, Stowmarket, after he complained to the deputy head, Gerald West, that another teacher had punched him in the stomach and kicked him in the leg after he got up to go to the toilet during the night.

He said when he was taken to the boot room by his housemaster, West and the teacher who had punched and kicked him, were waiting and ordered him to strip to his underwear.

He claimed West shoved him to the floor and he and the other teacher had then left the boot room, taking his clothes and locking the door behind them.

The next morning he claimed West unlocked and said: “We almost forgot about you.” He said that after his mother died West had told him he had broken his mother’s heart and was to blame for her death.

West, who is known by his middle name Roger, 70, of Martins Meadow, Gislingham, has denied ten charges of cruelty to a person under the age of 16.

Also before the court are Graham Hallett, 66, of Lancaster, a senior master at Oakwood, who has denied one charge of child cruelty: Stephen Player, 59, of London, a senior master at Oakwood, who has denied six offences of child cruelty and Michael Watts, 59, of Southampton, a child care officer at Oakwood, who has denied seven offences of child cruelty.

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The offences are alleged to have been committed between 1974 and 1999 and relate to 20 victims.

The trial continues today.

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