Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Hammer attack mum hopes to move on
Henry Webster
Henry Webster was attacked in 2007

Henry Webster is still struggling with his reading and his concentration, two years after he was left brain-damaged by a hammer attack at his school.

Today his mother, from Wroughton, is meeting with the Prime Minister to ensure something similar doesn't happen to any other children.

Henry, now 19, suffered three skull fractures during the violence in 2007, when he was 15.

One fracture caused a brain injury and required surgery to save his life.

Three years on and his mother Liz Webster, 46, said of his condition: "He's doing okay, he still suffers with ongoing difficulties from the brain injury.

"He's at school, he's meant to be sitting his A-levels this summer, he probably might have to do another year because he has trouble with concentration and fatigue and he has difficulty reading.

High Court

The family recently lost a High Court battle against Ridgeway School in Wroughton, where Henry was attacked.

The judge ruled the school did not breach its duty to take reasonable care to keep Mr Webster reasonably safe while on its premises.

There had been suggestions from some that the family had pursued the case through the High Court in a bid to ensure up to £1 million in compensation.

Liz said: "It's not very nice people saying all they're after is the money, I'm trying to look after my son, and his future is uncertain.

"He may never be able to hold down a full-time job.

"We've only ever been trying to do the best for him as well as make the school accountable so that children are safe.

"I run a nanny agency, that's my job, I take responsibility over what I do when I place a nanny with a family.

"It doesn't sit comfortably people taking risks with children, or taking risks generally, but particularly with young lives."

Normal life

So is this the end of pursuing the matter through the civil courts?

"If we'd won the Euromillions then we probably would have looked at appealing but to be honest it's taken too much of a toll on us.

"Putting everything into this, the stress of the court and the uncertainty and the whole procedures, it's just not a normal life to be doing that all of the time so I think we are glad to put that behind us now.

"It was a disappointment because we'd been focused on trying to get to the bottom of what went wrong so that lessons could be learnt, so we were disappointed.

"We never entered into this absolutely knowing we were going to win so you do prepare yourself for a fall, but there is still an ongoing serious case review into what happened, and so we are hopeful that will get to the bottom of what exactly went wrong.

Next step

In addition to the serious case review, Liz is meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday 10 March 2010.

"I've always been driven to do this - to stop this ever happening again to another child.

"We have succeeded in that the next time a child is hurt at school, there will be an immediate serious case review which didn't happen with Henry.

"That in itself is an achievement, and had Henry had an immediate serious case review then we wouldn't be where we are now.

We're very lucky that Henry is still alive and with us because he very nearly died. We're hoping that his life is going to be as full and prosperous as it possibly can be
Liz Webster

"All you do is go from one step to the next.

"We're very lucky that Henry is still alive and with us because he very nearly died.

"We're hoping that his life is going to be as full and prosperous as it possibly can be."

Liz is hoping that the meeting with Gordon Brown will draw a line in the sand for the family.

"I'm hoping that we will be able to put it behind us," she said.

"You can't completely get rid of it because it's become part of who Henry is, and part of who our family are.

"Henry drove down to Cornwall last year and in a service station people stopped him and asked him if he was the boy who got hit on the head with a hammer.

"It's always going to follow, he can't get a new identity, but we're hoping that (after the meeting) we will be able to move on and get on and try and get back to some sort of normality."

BBC Wiltshire has spoken to Ridgeway School who declined to comment on any of Mrs Webster's points. They've indicated they may respond after the conclusion of the serious case review.




SEE ALSO
Hammer attack mother meets the PM
10 Mar 10 |  Wiltshire
Hammer attack boy refused damages
05 Feb 10 |  Wiltshire
Hammer attack boy's damage claim
19 Oct 09 |  Wiltshire


BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific