Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Monday, 15 February 2010

Appeal delays Market Weighton abuse claims pay-out

St William's Community Home
The home provided care for boys with emotional and behavioural problems

More than 100 people who claim to have been physically and sexually abused at a Catholic children's home face further delays in their fight for compensation.

Former pupils at St William's Community Home in Market Weighton, East Yorkshire, started legal action for damages in 2006.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough has appealed against a ruling that it was responsible.

Robert Maxwell, one of around 150 ex pupils suing, said he wanted justice.

The home provided residential care and education for boys with emotional and behavioural problems aged from 11 to 18, mainly from Yorkshire and the North East.

Humberside Police started an investigation in 2001, which focused on child abuse at the home between 1965 and 1992.

They are a resilient bunch, they've had to be over the years and they are determined to see this through
Solicitor David Greenwood, representing the claimants

The inquiry led to former principal Father James Carragher being jailed for 14 years in 2004 after admitting abusing boys in his care.

A huge civil case was later started by Jordan's solicitors in Leeds after a number of victims came forward.

At a hearing at Leeds Crown Court last year, a judge decided that the diocese, which owned the home, and not the De La Salle Order of Christian Brothers, a Catholic order of lay teachers that taught there, was responsible for the abuse that took place.

The diocese was told it would have to pay out compensation to the victims, which could collectively amount to as much as £4m.

But the diocese has now lodged a challenge against that ruling with the Court of Appeal.

David Greenwood, who is acting on behalf of the victims who claim to have been abused, said the appeal could delay proceedings by up to one year.

"The case has now been put on hold until the Court of Appeal hearing and this could be anything between nine and 12 months' time."

Robert Maxwell
Robert Maxwell is one of around 150 former pupils suing for damages

Mr Greenwood said the delay was frustrating for the claimants, but added: "They are a resilient bunch, they've had to be over the years and they are determined to see this through."

Mr Maxwell, from York, who spent time at the home as a youngster, said: "We were put there to be looked after and we weren't looked after. We were abused in every way, every way possible."

He added: "I don't want revenge, I just want justice."

Father Derek Turnham, communications officer for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesborough, said: "The diocese has appealed in regard to an aspect of the judgement and that appeal is ongoing before the courts at the moment."

A spokesman for the De La Salle Order of Christian Brothers said it could not comment while legal proceedings were ongoing.

Last month Humberside Police was criticised by a watchdog for how it handled the investigation into sex abuse at the home.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) highlighted a number of failings in the inquiry.



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