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Last Updated: Monday, 12 November 2007, 15:44 GMT
Former head sentenced for cruelty
Anthony and George Robson
Brothers Anthony and George Robson convicted of child cruelty
A former head teacher who abused pupils at a special school for more than a decade has been given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years.

George Robson, of The Street, Bridgham, Norfolk, founded the Banham Marshall College, near Diss, in the 1970s.

Robson, 66, and his brother Anthony, a teacher, were convicted of cruelty against children between 1975 and 1988, after a trial at Norwich Crown Court.

Anthony Robson, 63, of Mill Road, Banham, will be sentenced in December.

George Robson, who has a terminal heart condition, did not attend the hearing.

Forced to fight

Outside court, former pupils said George Robson should have been sent to prison instead of having his sentence suspended.

Alan Jeeves said: "Yes, he has got an illness and is dying, but he should be dying in prison because we were in a prison.

"We were vulnerable children who could not get into a mainstream school."

Siobhan Young said: "He is a coward. He could have come today to face up to what he did, but he could not face all these people. I am very angry, really hurt."

During the trial, jurors heard that two boys at the school for vulnerable children with special needs were forced to fight in front of all the other pupils and staff.

One boy was told to eat his own vomit and another had to destroy all his own birthday presents as punishments.

David Clarke and Leslie Beckett
Care worker David Clarke and Leslie Beckett faced charges

The investigation into child cruelty allegations at Banham Marshalls College, formerly The Old Rectory, was launched in February 2003 following an inspection by the then National Care Standards Commission (NCSC).

The brothers were convicted along with caretaker David Clarke, 56, of Mill Road, Banham, and Leslie Beckett, who was born in 1915, and lived at Pilgrims Way, Harleston. He was charged with indecent assault.

Clarke was found guilty of child cruelty in October 2005 and was given a 12-month suspended sentence.

Mr Beckett died before he could come to trial.

All four worked at the Banham Marshalls College, which is now under different ownership.

The brothers abused pupils over 12 years

Three convicted of child cruelty
15 Oct 07 |  Norfolk
Troubled special school to close
19 Aug 04 |  Norfolk
School staff on cruelty charges
14 May 04 |  Norfolk

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