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Thursday, September 30, 1999 Published at 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK

UK: Wales

Court told of headmaster's cruelty

Derek Brushett has gone on trial at Cardiff crown court

A social services inspector carried out a catalogue of sexual and physical abuse against boys in his care when he was headmaster of a special school, a court was told.

Derek Brushett, 55, faces 44 charges of sexual and physical assault against boys as young as 11 who attended the Bryn-y-Don residential school near Cardiff more than 20 years ago.

[ image: Mr Brushett has been suspended by the National Assembly]
Mr Brushett has been suspended by the National Assembly
Brushett, later appointed a Welsh Office social services inspector, is accused of caning boys on their bare buttocks and committing sexual acts with them.

Prosecutor Christopher Llewellyn-Jones QC told Cardiff Crown Court Brushett "abused his power and his position as headmaster" during his six years in charge of the school between 1974 and 1980.

He added: "For those six years, he was in control of the lives of all the children and it seems there was very little supervision over the control which he exercised."


He said a number of the charges against married father-of-three Brushett related to punishment he gave to boys who broke the school's rules.

The prosecutor said: "They were problem children and many frequently absconded and committed crime."

Brushett would often "thrash" the boys, leaving them bruised and bleeding, he said.

He continued: "It is almost as if he gained some gratification from inflicting pain."

Child cruelty charges

The court heard boys who were about to leave the school had lard and black shoe polish smeared on their naked bodies by other boys and by Brushett.

Brushett, from Dinas Powis, near Cardiff, denies 29 charges of indecent assault, eight of child cruelty and three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

He also denies two charges of committing a serious sexual offence and two charges of attempting to commit a serious sexual offence.

The defendant was arrested by detectives working on the Operation Goldfinch investigation into abuse at children's homes across south Wales. He has been suspended from his job with the National Assembly.

The case continues.

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