Suffolk

Kesgrave Hall School abuse inquiry: Former pupils 'should come forward'

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Media captionLee Woolcott-Ellis has waived his right to anonymity

Former pupils at a Suffolk boarding school say people should come forward now that a police investigation into abuse allegations has been reopened.

A 1992 investigation into Kesgrave Hall resulted in no charges being brought. The school closed in 1993.

Officers are looking at the case again following calls from the local MP.

Former pupil Lee Woolcott-Ellis, 48, said: "Now is the time to come forward - everything is in place to help them through it."

The school, which is now a restaurant, was privately-owned. Children with behavioural problems were placed there by local education authorities.

Mr Woolcott-Ellis said there was daily sexual, physical and mental abuse when he was sent there from Kent, from 1975-80.

Sleep disorders

"The cane was rife and it wasn't just a lash on the back of someone's trousers - nine times out of 10 it was six across your knuckles that would make them bleed and, if you flinched or removed your hand, you would get six more," he said.

"We're talking physical injury. I was indecently assaulted and it involved more than just inappropriate touching."

Another pupil, Alexander Hanff, 39, also from Kent, attended from 1986-90 and said he was physically and sexually abused and has suffered from sleep disorders ever since.

Image caption Alexander Hanff said pupils were probably scared to talk about abuse

"The sexual abuse was never talked about in a boarding school with 50 pupils - homophobia was rife and people were probably just too scared," he said.

"Academically it was a very good school, but socially and emotionally it was very bad and had its consequences."

'More damage'

A Suffolk Police spokesperson said: "Suffolk Police has retrieved papers from our storage facility in relation to an investigation carried out in 1992 and we are at an early stage of reviewing the information.

"We encourage anyone who has been a victim to contact police and would like to reassure them their complaints will be taken very seriously."

Mr Woolcott-Ellis said: "It's nothing to do with compensation - it's more about justice.

"Those members of staff may still be working and present a danger to young people and now is the time to expose this before they can cause any more damage."

Mr Hanff said: "Prosecuting the people responsible may not be possible now, but it'll be interesting to see how many of the staff are still alive and whether there have been any prosecutions against them since."

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