Catholic diocese loses school abuse appeal bid

Graham Baverstock
Image caption Graham Baverstock is one of 158 former pupils suing for damages

A Roman Catholic diocese has been refused the right to appeal against a ruling that it should be held liable for abuse at a former boys' school.

The abuse is said to have taken place between 1960 and 1992 at St William's in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire.

Last month the Court of Appeal found the Middlesbrough Diocese accountable for an £8m compensation claim from 158 ex-pupils.

The court has now refused permission for an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Appeal court judges ruled last month that the De La Salle Brotherhood, which provided the school with teachers at the time, had no legal responsibility, leaving accountability with the diocese's Catholic Child Welfare Society (CCWS).

The compensation claim by the 158 pupils was submitted in 2004.

One of the victims, Graham Baverstock from Bridlington, said the latest ruling was "fantastic news".

He said: "The church have tried to evade their responsibility to the victims.

"The church, in my book, need to say sorry to the victims now. We have been campaigning for years for them to apologise."

Image caption The home provided care for boys with emotional and behavioural problems

The case centres around the systematic abuse of boys aged between 10 and 16 at the school, which closed in 1992.

Solicitor David Greenwood, who is acting on behalf of the former pupils, said they would be "relieved to know that the Court of Appeal considers that the attempts by The Diocese of Middlesbrough to evade responsibility should go no further".

The home provided residential care and education for boys with emotional and behavioural problems, mainly from Yorkshire and the North East.

Humberside Police started an investigation in 2001, which focused on child abuse at the home between 1965 and 1992.

A former principal at the home, James Carragher, was jailed for 14 years in 2004 after being found guilty of abusing boys there between 1969 and 1989.

A spokesman for the diocese said: "The lawyers representing the diocese are considering the matter."

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