Devon

Torquay attack victim sues council

A man who was left brain damaged after a vicious attack by children's home residents is suing the council responsible for one of his attackers.

Bradley Bedford was 13 when he was kicked in the head and his girlfriend was raped in Torquay, Devon in 2004.

Mr Bedford, now aged 22, is suing Bedfordshire County Council, which had sent one of the attackers, aged 15 at the time, to a Torquay children's home.

The council denies that the attacker, named only as AH, posed a serious risk.

AH was later convicted of rape and grievous bodily harm and jailed for life.

'Appalling' events

Augustus Ullstein QC told the judge at the High Court in London that AH had been sent to private Cheltenham Children's Home in Torquay in January 2004 by the county council.

AH was subject to a two year supervision order which involved him being tagged and subject to a curfew.

But in February that was revoked by a youth court because there had been significant improvement in his behaviour.

The result ultimately led to the "appalling" events of 29 May 2004, said Mr Ullstein.

He questioned the justification for lifting the order as, since his arrival at the home, AH's offending included absconding twice, being restrained for possible self harm, writing graffiti, spraying staff with cleaning products and attacking a member of staff.

The authority said AH had never before assaulted anyone beyond the confines of his various residential placements or inflicted injuries of such seriousness.

It denied that it had failed to exercise proper control over how he was cared for at the Cheltenham, which has since closed.

The case continues.

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