England

Beaten son loses claim against mother

A man who accused his mother of failing to protect him from beatings by his father has lost an action for damages.

The 32-year-old from County Durham, who cannot be identified, had told the High Court in London that his mother, now in her late 60s, assaulted him herself.

He claimed that she aided and abetted daily punishment by her husband by reporting her son's wrongdoings.

The judge ruled that the beating of the children by the father was not part of a "joint enterprise".

During the hearing in May, the High Court was told that the man, who was brought up in west London, claimed he was assaulted up to four times a day between the ages of five and 19 by the father he called a "tormentor".

He said he was hit with a stick, belt, electrical lead or wooden brush until he was 16 and struck with an open hand and throttled or choked as he got older.

His mother had denied liability and said her son was "exaggerating".

She did agree that she slapped him occasionally but said it was "reasonable chastisement" and denied hitting him with a clothes brush.

Not protected

The son said: "I saw that she did not like me and it led me to think that her primary concern in seeking help was to make her home life run more smoothly and not the welfare of myself or my siblings.

"I wouldn't say my mother had done her best to protect me. I always felt she could have done more."

He added: "She wasn't a tormentor like my father was, continually looking for excuses to assault me."

The man was seeking damages for pain and suffering as well as £7,800 to pay for therapy.

In a written judgement, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said she did not accept that the beating of the children by the father was part of a "joint enterprise".

She described the household as running in the way the father wanted, and the views of the mother "were plainly irrelevant about most things most of the time".

The judge also said she was satisfied that the mother, who was herself subjected to violence, "never caused any injury of any sort to the claimant".

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