Jury retires in the trial of three former members of staff from Swaylands School for boys in Penshurst, near Tonbridge

A jury has retired to consider verdicts in the trial of three former members of staff at a residential school for boys accused of “a multitude of sexual abuse” covering 30 years. Child care officers Colwyn Baker, 70, avid Hennessy, 73, and 61-year-old Nigel Putman are alleged to have molested children at Swaylands School in Penshurst. Baker is also accused of encouraging pupils to abuse each other. The three face a total of 49 charges at Maidstone Crown Court involving 24 boys. Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC said Swaylands was a residential school for boys aged seven to 16 with moderate learning difficulties until 1989. It was re-designated as a 60-pupil residential school for boys aged 11 to 16 with emotional and behavioural problems. It was closed down in 1993. David Hennessy. Picture: Mike Gunnill Mr Bennetts told the jury of seven men and five women that Baker was convicted in February 1994 of four offences of indecent assault and one of gross indecency involving three boys at the school. Hennessy was convicted in December 1993 of four offences of indecent assault and two other serious sexual offences on one boy. “The reason you hear of these convictions is not to create prejudice against the defendants but because, as you will appreciate, they deny they have behaved in the way you will hear the complainants describe,” said Mr Bennetts. Nigel Putman. Picture: Mike Gunnill Baker was employed at the school from May 1967 until his suspension and arrest in January 1993. Hennessy was employed from March 1969. He resigned in pril 1977 but was re-employed in pril 1979. Baker, of Morningside, Edinburgh, denied 22 charges of indecent assault on a male, one of indecency with a child and three other serious sexual offences. Colwyn Baker. Picture: Mike Gunnill Hennessy, of Westfields, Narborough, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, denied 18 charges of indecent assault on a male, one of indecency with a child and one other serious sexual offence. Putman, of Kings Road, Slough, Berkshire, denied three charges of indecent assault on a male. Only Hennessy gave evidence during the trial which started on March 4. If you or a loved one have been 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 more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with Personal Injury matters ranging from road traffic accidents to workplace injury and liability. She offers a sympathetic and professional approach to her clients’ problems and advises on funding options (including insurance and Conditional Fee Agreements.)

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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.

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