Worcestershire: Eight in court accused of child abuse at school

  • Published
Archive image of Rhydd Court School
Image caption,
The allegations over the former school cover the late 1970s to the early 1990s

Eight people have appeared in court accused of child abuse offences dating back to the 1970s at a Worcestershire school.

The charges involve allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the former Rhydd Court School, in Hanley Castle, from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.

The five men and three women aged between 50 and 82 appeared before magistrates in Worcester on Thursday.

They were released on bail to appear at Worcester Crown Court on 31 August.

The charges relate solely to the time the premises was owned by the local authority, West Mercia Police said.

Worcestershire County Council has said the school operated as a weekday boarding school at the period in question, catering for pupils assessed to have moderate learning difficulties.

The accused include:

  • Cynthia Moore, 81, of Diddies, Bude, who is charged with child cruelty, conspiracy to commit a serious sexual offence, conspiracy to commit indecent assault, and conspiracy to commit child cruelty.
  • John Dixon, 82, of Burgh Le Marsh, Skegness, who is charged with four counts of a serious sexual offence, two counts of conspiracy to commit the same serious sexual offence, six counts of indecent assault, and two counts of conspiracy to commit child cruelty.
  • Michael Connor, 69, of Crofton, Wakefield, who is charged with indecent assault, two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, three counts of conspiracy to commit a serious sexual offence, three counts of conspiracy to commit indecent assault, and conspiracy to commit child cruelty.
  • Terence Heath, 74, of Hanley Castle, Worcester, who is charged with two counts of conspiracy to indecently assault; two counts of conspiracy to commit a serious sexual offence; and conspiracy to commit child cruelty.
  • Anita Gunning, 59, of Plymouth, who is charged with conspiracy to commit indecent assault, conspiracy to commit child cruelty, and two counts of indecent assault.
  • David Sykes, 76, of Rotherham, who is charged with grievous bodily harm without intent, indecent assault, and conspiracy to commit child cruelty.
  • Charmaine James, 62, of Rathven, Buckie, who is charged with gross indecency, conspiracy to commit child cruelty, and two counts of indecent assault.
  • Marie Burston, 51, of Eckington Road, Bredon, Tewkesbury, who is charged with indecent assault and conspiracy to commit child cruelty.

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