Stowmarket Oakwood School trial: Pupil 'force-fed sick'

Kingsfield Centre, Stowmarket Image copyright Google
Image caption Oakwood is now a pupil referral unit on Chilton Way in Stowmarket

A pupil at a state boarding school was beaten when he refused to eat food he had just regurgitated, a court heard.

Four men who taught at the former Oakwood School in Stowmarket, Suffolk, deny a total of 24 cruelty charges.

Simon Gill, one of 20 former pupils involved in the trial at Ipswich Crown Court, described how life at the school was "terrible" and he was regularly beaten.

During cross examination, Mr Gill denied being motivated by money.

The prosecution opened the trial last week and described an "abusive regime".

The defendants are Gerald West, 70, of Martins Meadow, Gislingham in Suffolk; Stephen Player, 61, of Manor Road, Spratton in Northamptonshire; Michael Watts, 59, of Sellwood Road, Netley Abbey, Southampton, and Graham Hallett, 66, of Aldcliffe Road, Lancaster.

'Nobody cares'

Mr Gill told the jury: "Whatever they put on your plate you had to eat it - it didn't matter if you didn't like it.

"If you sicked it up they would hold you by the back of the neck and spoon it into your mouth."

Mr Gill said Mr Hallett would regularly drag him from the dining room by his hair or scruff of the neck for a beating.

"He would say 'nobody cares about you'," said Mr Gill.

The Suffolk County Council-run school for boys aged between eight and 16 opened in 1974 and closed in 2000.

Mr Gill also said Oakwood's deputy head teacher Gerald West's disciplinary methods were "heavy-handed" and he would "slap you and slap you and slap you".

During cross-examination, Mr Gill denied lying and exaggerating.

He said he had read about a civil case for damages being brought against the council, but he denied being motivated by money.

The trial continues.

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