Cumbria

Underley Hall staff instilled 'fear and brutality'

Underley Hall
Image caption Pupils were referred to Underley Hall by local education authorities

Five men assaulted and bullied pupils at a private boarding school in order to "instil fear and brutality", a jury has heard.

They have gone on trial at Carlisle Crown Court over claims relating to Underley Hall School in Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria.

Prosecutors allege 10 boys were subjected to violence and humiliation.

Former owner Derrick Cooper and four former teachers and workers deny cruelty and actual bodily harm.

The offences are said to have taken place during the 1970s and 80s.

Prosecutor Michael Hayton QC said pupils at the school often came from "challenging family backgrounds including broken homes and abusive parents".

'Eyes gouged'

He told the court one boy was headbutted and had his eyes gouged, another had his hand placed in a woodwork vice and was hit with a mallet, while a third was punched and kicked before being stripped and made to walk naked along a corridor.

"This case is about the deliberate mistreatment of school children and adolescents by those tasked with educating and protecting them," Mr Hayton said.

"It is the Crown's case that, in fact, each of these defendants on occasion physically assaulted and bullied pupils in order to teach them a lesson, and to instil fear and brutality."

Mr Cooper, 77, of Hillberry Green, Douglas, Isle of Man, has pleaded not guilty to six charges of actual bodily harm and two charges of cruelty to a person under 16 years.

Fred Taylor, 75, of Lower Park Royd Drive, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire; James Robert Farish, 58, of Oakwood, Kendal; David Hadwin, 71, of Raygarth Gardens, Kirkby Lonsdale; and 66-year-old John Studley, of Maryland Close, Silverdale, Lancashire, deny actual bodily harm.

The trial, expected to last six to eight weeks, continues.

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