Stowmarket: Ex-band members lodge sex abuse claim

Former Stowmarket music teacher Derek Cable in 2003.

Former Stowmarket music teacher Derek Cable in 2003. - Credit: Archant

LEGAL action has begun on behalf of 10 former members of a Suffolk school band seeking compensation for alleged sexual abuse by its leader.

Derek Cable while at Stowmarket Middle School

Derek Cable while at Stowmarket Middle School - Credit: Archant

The ex-pupils who performed with Stowmarket School Concert Band have taken out a civil claim against Suffolk County Council, which if successful could lead to a six-figure payout.

Music teacher Derek Cable, known to pupils at Stowmarket Middle School as Barney, was jailed by Ipswich Crown Court for four years in 2003.

Cable, aged 63 at the time, was convicted of 10 offences of indecent assault and eight of gross indecency against five boys.

However, five further alleged victims have now come forward.


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Cable, formerly of Edgecombe Road, Stowmarket, was convicted of abuse during the 1970s and 1980s while he was music director and conductor of the concert band, which he founded in 1961.

The band was highly-regarded and had toured the United Kingdom, Spain, France Germany and America.

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Cable had the trust of parents and groomed his victims by plying them with cash, cigarettes and alcohol.

One former band member involved in the compensation claim said he was due to stay with Cable after the teacher offered to look after him while his parents were on holiday.

The ex-pupil alleged: “After walking through the front door Mr Cable stripped naked and instructed me to remove my clothes saying ‘no one wears clothes in this house’.”

The man said he was so distressed he left Cable’s house and was involved in an accident on the way home in which he sustained serious injuries.

He added: “It ruined my life. That man (Cable) wrecked my life. For many years I suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and found it really hard to function.”

By last summer six former members had made allegations in preparation for a civil case against the county council. However, that number has now risen to 10.

Andrew Grove, of Andrew Grove & Co Solicitors in Cambridge, which represents the claimants said: “We have issued a claim form in Cambridge County Court that commences proceedings. The group register has 10 names on it.

“These people are alleging sexual abuse by Derek Cable while they were his music pupils in Stowmarket School Concert Band.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “The county council is currently involved in legal proceedings regarding this case, as such we cannot comment any further at this stage.”

When Cable’s career ended he retired to Singapore. He returned to England in 2002 for after being invited back by one of his victims on the pretext of a band reunion.

He was arrested on his return.

In 2006 at least two of Cable’s victims were offered £3,000 each in compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

At the time they said they would be refusing the money as they felt it was not enough for what they had been through.

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