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Ex-pupil tells jury he was left “battered and bruised” by alleged school assault

Carlisle Crown Court

[A] FORMER pupil has told jurors he was left “battered and bruised” by an alleged assault which he says occurred at a South Cumbria boarding school.

David Emmott gave evidence today (MON) at Carlisle Crown Court, where five men are on trial. They deny alleged physical abuse of boys who attended Underley Hall School, Kirkby Lonsdale, during the 1970s and 1980s.

The school’s 77-year-old former owner, Derrick Cooper, of Hillberry Green, Douglas, Isle of Man, denies six charges alleging actual bodily harm assault, and further denies two child cruelty allegations.

Three former teachers and an ex-handyman each deny one actual bodily harm assault allegation. They are Fred Trevor Taylor, 75, Lower Park Royd Drive, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire; James Robert Farish, 58, of Oakwood, Kendal; 66-year-old John Studley, of Maryland Close, Silverdale, Lancashire; and David Hadwin, 71, of Raygarth Gardens, Kirkby Lonsdale.

From the witness box, Mr Emmott, now 53, told jurors that Cooper and another man “took it in turns” to punch and slap him after he had been summoned to an office for cutting another pupil’s thumb with a knife.

He said another student knocked at the door – and was told to leave – while the alleged assault occurred. “They knocked again, so Cooper picked me up, hung me on the back of the door,” said Mr Emmott, who described his feet being “off the floor”. “He answered the door and told him to go away.”

Mr Emmott said he was left “battered and bruised” across his body by an alleged assault he told no-one about at the time.

He agreed that he didn’t tell police about alleged abuse until 2014 after he saw a TV news report. He accepted during cross-examination that soon after moving away from Underley Hall he had revisited – “because there were good and times”. He also admitted writing a letter as an ex-pupil to “Mr Cooper and school” asking “how are you, and how is the old place?”.

Asked why he wrote that letter, Mr Emmott explained: “Mixed up teenager, I suppose.”

The trial continues.

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