Jury hears allegations against Douglas man

Douglas man denies charges

An Island man and five others ‘physically assaulted and bullied’ pupils at a South Cumbria private boarding school in order to ‘instil fear and brutality’, a jury has heard.

The men, aged 58 to 77, went on trial at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday (Thursday).

Between them, the former teachers and school workers face a string of allegations of historical assaults and cruelty towards boys.

They had been referred to Underley Hall School in Kirkby Lonsdale by local education authorities during the 1970s and 1980s.

Derrick William Cooper of Hillberry Green in Douglas is one of the defendants.

The school's former owner, 77, denies six charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and a further two allegations of cruelty to a person under 16.

Opening the case yesterday, prosecutor Michael Hayton QC alleged 10 different boys had been subjected to violence and humiliation at various times.

Pupils, he said, often came from ‘challenging family backgrounds, including broken homes and abusive parents’.

Mr Hayton told the court the case was about the 'deliberate mistreatment' of schoolchildren and adolescents, by those tasked with educating and protecting them.

The trial is expected to last up to eight weeks.

The first prosecution witnesses are due to give evidence from Monday.

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