Child abuse accused says ex-pupils ‘in it for money’

Colwyn Baker at Maidstone Crown Court. Picture: Mike Gunnill

Colwyn Baker at Maidstone Crown Court. Picture: Mike Gunnill

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FORMER pupils at a special school who were allegedly abused by a pensioner from the Capital only made the claims to make money, a court has heard.

Colwyn Baker, from Craighouse Avenue, denies 24 charges of sexual assault and rape during his 30-year spell at Swaylands School in Kent.

The jury has heard that the 72-year-old was previously convicted in 1993 for abusing children at the school.

At Maidstone Crown Court yesterday, Sarah Elliott QC, defending, said the new charges were the result of former pupils getting together to concoct incidents to earn massive payouts from the local authority responsible for Swaylands.

She told the jury: “Bullying and sexual bullying was going on among the pupils. The boys at Swaylands School were no ordinary boys.

“It was a perfect storm of bad behaviour with staff unable to exercise control.”

She said female teachers had sexual advances made towards them by the pupils and weaker boys were bullied.

Baker had his favourites at the school, she admitted, and wasn’t too concerned about what happened to boys who were not in his circle.

She said there was a tendency for ex-pupils who turned to crime, alcohol or drugs to blame the school and Baker in particular for their woes.

Ms Elliott said: “It [the school] was a dumping ground for kids with problems in Barnet. They were put out of sight in the Kent countryside.

“This was nothing to do with Mr Baker, but it was convenient to blame him. Mr Baker is an easy target.

“There are some witnesses who are lying full stop. There are people who behaved badly in later life.

“They are not the most reliable witnesses. ‘It’s not my fault I’m an alcoholic, blame Mr Baker. I blew £80,000 on cocaine, blame Mr Baker’.

“You see, witnesses who blame Mr Baker for failing to protect them, they have a deep and burning hatred of the man who failed to protect them.”

She said details of one alleged sex attack were copied from the film Scum, which portrayed the brutality of life inside a youth detention centre.

Ms Elliott said: “There are glaring inconsistencies in witnesses’ accounts.

“What they hoped for in return for testifying was large amounts of money.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com