Pupil ‘told off for reporting sex abuse at school’

AN alleged victim of a Morningside man accused of sexual abuse at a school said his headteacher told him to “stop making things up” when he reported it.

The man, now aged 61, was the first witness to take to the stand in the trial of Colwyn Baker, of Craighouse Avenue.

Baker, 71, went on trial last week alongside David Hennessy and Nigel Putman, who were all residential child care officers at Swaylands School, Kent.

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The trio face a total of 49 historic charges against 24 victims, some aged around ten to 15 at the time the abuse was said to have occurred at the school.

Swaylands, which catered for boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties, closed in 1993.

The alleged victim told Maidstone Crown Court on Monday that he was 14 when he first met Baker.

He claimed he was sexually abused by Baker on a number of occasions and recalled Baker asking ten boys to turn around while they were in the shower.

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The man, who has learning difficulties and cannot be named for legal reasons, said Baker also assaulted him while he was in an ice bath.

He told the court he reported the incident to the headmaster.

“He said I had to stop making false allegations,” said the witness, who claimed he was also abused by Baker in a greenhouse in the grounds of the school.

When he visited home, he said he was too afraid to tell his mother.

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“I used to cry myself to sleep. My mum didn’t know why it was. I kept it to myself,” he said.

The alleged victim said Baker threatened to “make life hell” for him if he told anyone about the abuse, saying he would tell his parents about “unruly” behaviour and call the police who would take his word against that of a teenage boy.

He said boys who were subjected to Baker’s abuse would be given money and sweets.

“I told him to leave me alone. I said I would get him for what he had done to me,” he said, adding that he would never forget the ordeal.

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Baker, Hennessy and Putman are alleged to have carried out the crimes between 1963 and 1993. Baker faces 24 counts of indecent assault and three charges of rape.

Each man denies the charges against him. Baker, who has lived in Morningside for more than 15 years, is remanded in custody.

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