Page last updated at 15:00 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 16:00 UK

Hammer attack review is quashed

Henry Webster
Henry Webster suffered life-threatening injuries

A review into a hammer attack on a Wiltshire schoolboy was so flawed that it must be quashed, a judge has ruled.

Henry Webster, 18, was left with life-threatening injuries when he was hit about the head with a hammer at Ridgeway School, Wroughton, in 2007.

Swindon Safeguarding Children Board had delayed its inquiry to suit the school insurers, the High Court judge said.

Insurers had advised the school not to cooperate while it was sued for alleged negligence by Mr Webster's family.

The judge, Mr Justice Kenneth Parker, ordered the board to hold a new review.

Liability denied

He said the purpose of statutory serious case reviews was to learn lessons to prevent future similar incidents.

As the judge gave his ruling, the damages action being brought by the Webster family against the school was proceeding before another judge at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The school denies liability.

The judge said the Swindon board set up the review earlier this year after Children's Secretary Ed Balls met Mrs Webster.

The minister told her he thought the case merited a review and it should have been undertaken sooner.

The assault on Mr Webster, who was then 15, involved a group of schoolboys and three car-loads of men who came on to school premises after being summoned by the boys on mobile phones.

Thirteen teenagers, and a man who did not attend the 1,400-pupil school, were convicted for their parts in the attack at Bristol Crown Court last year.

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