Man denies cruelty charges

A man from Gislingham has appeared in court to deny ten alleged offences of child cruelty while working at a school.

Gerald West, 69, of Martins Meadow, is accused of committing the offences at the now-closed Oakood boarding school in Stowmarket over a period of 21 years. West entered his plea today last Thursday at Ipswich Crown Court. His trial will take place in August next year. Until then West will remain on bail. West is one of four former members of staff at Oakwood School who are facing the same charge of cruelty to a person aged under 16.

Stephen Player, 59, of Manor Road, Spratton, Northamptonshire has pleaded not guilty to six offences; Michael Watts, 57, of Ellwood Road, Netley Abbey, Southampton, has denied seven offences and Graham Hallett, 65, of Aldcliffe, Lancaster has denied one offence. All are on bail until they stand trial together. Oakwood School accommodated children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. It closed in 2000.




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