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17 DEC 2007

High Court rules council failed to protect man from abusive parents

A man who was abused by his parents until the age of 14, has successfully sued Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council in the High Court in London for neglect and been awarded £25,000 in damages.

The council was refused leave to appeal the ruling although their barrister, Catherine Foster, said they intended to petition the Court of Appeal directly.

In the landmark case on Thursday, Jake Pierce, 31, described to the court how he was subjected to continuous beatings by his parents until he left home at 14 to live on the streets after his father threatened to kill him. In July 1976 Mr Pierce had been placed in foster care after he had been admitted to hospital when he was six months old. However in November 1977 the council returned him to his parents where the abuse continued. After suffering severe scalding to his body in 1979 he was placed on the 'at risk' register but, against the advice of doctors, he was again returned home.

Mr Justice Eady found that Mr Pierce had suffered "indifference, neglect and periodic violence at the hands of his parents" which amounted to "physical cruelty and emotional deprivation" and had he been put into care by the council in November 1977 he would have been "properly looked after".

The council, which now faces high legal costs, was ordered to immediately pay £40,000 towards Mr Pierce's costs.

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