Disgraced clergyman Canon Gordon Rideout was a serial sex offender

Rideout, now 74, was jailed for 10 years at Lewes Crown Court after being convicted of two attempted rapes and 34 indecent assaults on 16 boys and girls in Hampshire and Sussex in the 1960s and 1970s. The jury heard many of his victims were too afraid to report his behaviour for fear of being beaten. And he was one of several priests to whose alleged misdeeds the Church of England turned a blind eye. In the 1970s he got as far as court but was cleared by a military hearing of allegations of indecent assault relating to his time as forces chaplain at St Michael's Church on a military base in Middle Wallop, Hampshire. And during his trial in Lewes, the prosecution said the reason the child victims did not make complaints at the time of the offences was that "a child's word was not believed". Philip Bennetts QC said: "Indeed, on the occasion that a young child was brave enough to complain, you'll hear that they were beaten." During the trial Rideout's defence team suggested victims had lied and were motivated by compensation or revenge, or that they had got the wrong person. The majority of the 36 charges, which cover a period between between 1962 and 1973, relate to offences at the now-demolished Barnardo's children's home, Ifield Hall, in Crawley, when he was an assistant curate at nearby St Mary's Church, Southgate. Church 'arrogance' But even after the court martial in 1972 and a police investigation into Rideout in 2001, he continued to be employed by the hurch. Rideout was cleared of three indecent assaults by a court martial in 1972 He was chaplain at Moira House School, Eastbourne, until 2003, chairman of governors at St Mary's special school in Bexhill until 2009 and at Bishop Bell of CE School in Eastbourne until November 2011. Matt Dunkley, director of children's services at East Sussex Dounty Council, told the BBC: "It was a significant amount of arrogance on behalf of some members of the Church of England - almost that these things couldn't be true about someone of standing in the Church." Yet when police started reinvestigating the complaints in 2011 and 2012, the lid was lifted on a catalogue of child abuse by a man in a position of trust. The police investigation followed a confidential review by Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss into historical allegations of sexual abuse by hurch of England priests against young people in Sussex and elsewhere. As well as offences at Ifield Hall, Rideout also abused children in Middle Wallop. We understand that it is not unusual for those who were subject to abuse to come forward later in life. If you or somebody you know were subject to abuse please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence.

Lisa has specialised in childhood abuse and social care negligence for the last 8 years and has extensive experience in relation to civil abuse litigation, CICA claim maximisation and Redress Scheme claims. She offers a sympathetic and professional approach to her clients’ problems and advises on funding options (including insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements.)

Since 2018 she has travelled around the country to see clients who were failed by Lambeth Council during their childhood in order to collate evidence for submission to the Lambeth Children’s Home Compensation Scheme. Lisa’s style of working is tailored to providing emotional support whilst applying the specialist legal expertise required to ensure her client’s have the best evidence for making a successful claim.

Lisa is able to access key psychiatric and social care experts to obtain evidence and therapy recommendations for clients. She can direct clients to treatment providers if required. Often such treatment costs can be claimed as part of the compensation process. This is a priority to ensure her clients have the best opportunity to make positive steps into the future. Lisa excels in applying questions to psychiatric experts to clarify and ensure they have a deeper understanding of the case issues where required. She is also experienced in negotiation to maximise outcome according to specific scheme terms.

For the last year and half, Lisa has been leading the firm’s participation in the National Abuse Inquiry specifically relating to the IICSA Lambeth investigation acting on behalf of 6 core participants. Such work involved the preparation of core participant applications, section 40 funding applications, detailed consideration of social care record evidence, witness statements preparation, attending preliminary hearings for consideration on the extent of other key party involvement, detailed work on documentary disclosure evidence from the council, police and other core participants to identify deep seated failings within the past care and policing systems, cross referencing, and work with counsel on composing Rule 10 questioning of corporate and police witnesses giving evidence at the IICSA Lambeth hearing. Lisa also accompanied a key core participant giving evidence to the IICSA hearing providing support and understanding to ensure her client’s evidence was sensitively taken into account when the panel make recommendations to protect children in the future. Questions were raised on the effectiveness of the current Serious Case Review system and how this has been operating within police and council’s across the country, something which has also been identified whilst working on specific civil cases. The hope is that improvements in the child protection mechanisms can ensure the safety of children in future.

Lisa also specialises in CICA claims, an area of work which has increased significantly following the lifting of the pre 1979 same home abuse rule which facilitated many victims being able to finally achieve justice relating to serious childhood abuse.

Lisa also has extensive particular experience in running civil claims relating to foster carer abuse, abuse in private/public/approved school institutions, church abuse, and abuse linked to gymnastics.

Her extensive knowledge of the Civil Procedure Rules, skills in evidence gathering and analysis of liability and causation, and experience in risk assessment and settlement negotiation make her a valuable asset to clients and colleagues alike.

Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with Personal Injury matters ranging from road traffic accidents to workplace injury and liability.

Lisa is fluent in German and Persian. She also has experience in Civil Litigation regarding Debt Recovery, Breach of Contract, and Insolvency Law

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"I would like to express my profound heartfelt gratitude to Lisa Gafarov for all her hard work and understanding when representing me. She fought passionately for my case for two years.

Within this time, never once did I feel it was about the money for her. She was very considerate and dealt with many personal matters in a caring and professional way. It was a very sensitive case but she put in a lot of hard work and went the extra mile each time. Her wide range of expertise was indispensable during this difficult time. Because of this I trusted all her advice and as a result, this took a lot of pressure off of me.

She managed to reach a very amicable conclusion between the defendants and myself. You don’t know how much your passion impacts the lives of others. For this I am forever grateful. I would recommend your firm a hundred times over."
Anonymous, April 2019

Lisa studied ‘Contract Law, European Law and Employment Law’ as part of her degree in BA (Hons) Business Administration. She has also studied other business subjects, including accounting.

Having completed her degree, Lisa started work for Verisona Law in November 1999 in the Personal Injury department as a Trainee Litigation Clerk and since then has developed extensive skills in relation to personal injury litigation and case preparation.

  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents at work
  • Slip and trip claims
  • Occupier’s liability claims
  • Product Liability claims
  • Industrial disease claims
  • Work related upper limb disorder claims
  • Clinical negligence, including amputation claims
  • Cosmetic surgery claims
  • Abuse claims

"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."


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