Former Rhydd Court School Teachers Face Child Abuse Charges

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Hywel Thomas

Senior Associate Solicitor, Abuse

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Following investigations by West Mercia Police, eight former teachers have this month appeared in Court to face charges of child cruelty and sexual abuse. They are accused of assaulting, neglecting and ill-treating pupils at Rhydd Court School in Malvern, Worcester between 1979 and 1991. 

Rhydd Court School was a boarding school run by Worcestershire County Council and its purpose was to help vulnerable children who had been assessed as having learning difficulties. The school was closed in 1991 after an initial police investigation, but investigations have since reopened under “Operation Lydstep”.

Each of the former teachers accused have now been granted unconditional bail and will appear in Court again at the next hearing on 31 August.

Who was Accused?

The former teachers who have been accused each faced their own individual charges in Court, including:

  • Anita Gunning – charged with conspiracy to commit indecent assault of a boy under the age of 14 and indecently assaulting the same boy in a tent between 1987 and 1991. She has also been accused of assaulting another young boy between 1987 and 1991.
  • Cynthia Moore – charged with conspiracy to commit a sexual offence with a boy under the age of 16-years-old between 1987 and 1991. She also faces charges for child cruelty and conspiring to indecently assault a boy under 16-years-old.
  • Michael Connor – faced with two charges of assault causing actual bodily harm between 1987 and 1991. He is also charged with one count of indecent assault and conspiracy to commit a sexual offence as well as conspiring to carry out indecent assault.
  • Marie Handy – accused of indecent assault of a boy under 14 between September 1987 and July 1991.
  • Terence Heath – charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit a sexual offence as well as two indecent assaults which took place between 1987 and 1990.
  • David Sykes – faces charges of causing grievous bodily harm in an assault which is alleged to have involved a perforated eardrum. He is also charged with indecently assaulting a boy under 16 years of age between June 1987 and February 1990.
  • John Dixon – charged with conspiring to commit child cruelty. He will also be faced with two charges of conspiracy to commit a sexual offence, six indecent assaults and four sexual offences.
  • Charmaine James – accused of gross indecency with a boy who was under 14 as well two indecent assaults on one boy and a man aged over 16.

What can you do if You’ve Been Affected?

If you or a loved one attended Rhydd Court and have been affected by this case, we would strongly encourage you to report your experience to the police. We know how difficult this can be, but it could help you and others to obtain justice.

If you’re a survivor of childhood abuse, the thought of pursuing legal action can feel daunting, but our approachable Abuse Solicitors are specialists and will use their experience to handle your case with sensitivity and understanding.

Would you like to speak to one of our specialist abuse team in confidence?

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