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Police open fresh investigation into abuse allegations at school

PUBLISHED: 08:18 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:48 01 August 2019

Red House School, Buxton, pictured in 2002. Ex-pupils have made allegations of physical and sexual abuse. Pictured left is Benny Joergensen a former head teacher. He died in 2013. Photo: Archant

Red House School, Buxton, pictured in 2002. Ex-pupils have made allegations of physical and sexual abuse. Pictured left is Benny Joergensen a former head teacher. He died in 2013. Photo: Archant

Archant

Detectives opened an investigation today into allegations of abuse at a north Norfolk school after fresh evidence was uncovered by this newspaper.

A photo provided of one of the pupils being hit by teacher Benny Joergensen. He said the photo was taken on a trip to India in the mid-1990s. Photo: SubmittedA photo provided of one of the pupils being hit by teacher Benny Joergensen. He said the photo was taken on a trip to India in the mid-1990s. Photo: Submitted

Eleven former pupils of the Small School at Red House near Buxton have come forward alleging physical abuse in the 1980s and '90s. Some have also alleged sexual abuse by older pupils.

We passed our information to police last week who confirmed on Wednesday that had led to the fresh probe.

Norfolk police previously investigated abuse allegations at the school, where councils sent difficult children, made between 1984 and 1990.

Those investigations ended with no further action with police stating there was "no prospect of achieving a conviction against any suspect set against the standard required by the court".

Red House School, Buxton, pictured in 2002. Ex-pupils have made allegations of physical and sexual abuse. Photo: ArchantRed House School, Buxton, pictured in 2002. Ex-pupils have made allegations of physical and sexual abuse. Photo: Archant

But the majority of the new allegations reported by this newspaper relate to after the period the police investigated.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Paul Brown said: "This information is currently being assessed and a new investigation is being launched based on the further allegations which have been made.

"We would appeal to anyone with information, which has not been previously reported to the police, to make contact either by calling 101 to speak to us, or alternatively by reporting any relevant information using the Major Incident Public Portal."

Michael Rose, who was at the school from 1990, alleged he was regularly beaten by staff.

"It is great that people are going to have the opportunity to get some kind of justice; that goes a long way in healing.

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"It is late but it's comforting to know that someone out there is listening to you.

"At the time we were complaining to social workers and they did nothing."

Michael Rose, former pupil at Red House who was awarded a payout from Barnet social services for physical abuse. Photo: Michael RoseMichael Rose, former pupil at Red House who was awarded a payout from Barnet social services for physical abuse. Photo: Michael Rose

Mr Rose, 40, from London, successfully sued his social services department in Barnet in 2001 for sending him to Red House and another abusive children's home.

But other former pupils who came forward say they have had no closure or justice.

One man, who alleged he suffered sexual abuse at the school from older pupils aged 11, said: "We want to get to the bottom of this and see justice done."

Steve Chase complained to police in 2009 about physical abuse he allegedly suffered at Red House in the late 1980s but that investigation ended with no further action.

Red House School in Buxton, pictured in 1980. Photo: ArchantRed House School in Buxton, pictured in 1980. Photo: Archant

He said: "I felt there were problems with the earlier police investigation but this is brilliant news and I hope we now get justice."

Mr Chase, 44, has formed a group called "One Voice" for former pupils who allege abuse at the school.

The school was opened in 1984 by a group linked to a controversial Danish organisation called Tvind. It closed in 1998 amid concerns for children's welfare and an investigation into its finances.

Former teachers of the school have not responded to our requests for comment.

-Anyone who would like support about the issues raised in this article can contact the National Association for People Abused in Childhood on 0808 801 0331

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