Home abuse probe

August 4, 2005

A PROBE into sex abuse allegations at a former Formby children’s home will be heard at the High Court.More than 60 people claim they were subjected to life-blighting ordeals at the long-closed St Vincent ‘ s home and its sister establishment, St Aidan’s, in Widnes.The alleged victims are suing the Nugent Care Society, which is responsible for both homes, for substantial damages.Their solicitors say they were traumatised by their experiences at the homes between the early 1960s and the mid 1980s.They say management “should have appreciated what was happening” at the homes and “failed to heed or act upon” young residents’ complaints of widespread physical and sexual abuse.Speaking at London’s High Court, Mr Justice Holland directed that the trial of the claims should start on February 21 when the judge is expected to hear six “lead cases” on the result of which about 60 others will depend.The judge set the trial date despite a plea from Edward Faulks QC, for the Nugent Care Society, that defence lawyers needed more time to cope with the enormous amount of evidence generated by the case.He said 15 boxes of documents from St Vincent’s alone had to be gone through and it had taken four people three months to review the “deluge” of paperwork in the case.The trial, at which scores of witnesses are expected to be heard, including medical and social care experts, is expected to last several weeks.

IC Sefton

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