William Henry Smith School

More former pupils have contacted solicitors representing alleged victims of abuse at a West Yorkshire school after police questioned three men in their sixties on claims of sexual and physical assaults going back to the 1970s. And an ex-employee has claimed William Henry Smith School (WHSS) in Rastrick, Brighouse failed to investigate an assault on a pupil he claims he witnessed just two years ago.

WHSS is a non-maintained residential special school set up in 1920. According to its website it provides high quality education and care for boys with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

In the summer West Yorkshire Police quizzed three men in connection with alleged sexual and physical assaults dating back 30 years before releasing them on bail pending further investigations.

One former pupil, Mark Edson of Selby, believes some former pupils have received compensation, although he was not one of them.

The law firm representing the former pupils, Verisona of Hampshire, would confirm this. But Alan Collins,  the solicitor working on the claims, said: coverage has led to more ex-pupils contacting us. Usually in cases like this one most people do not come forward so I am still looking for witnesses prepared to talk to me about the allegations as I wonder if we are still not getting the entire picture of the full extent of the abuse.

Lee Varey from Halifax was a maintenance worker at the school from 2004 until he quit in 2007. He was impressed by the dedication of the staff and therefore left bitterly disappointed when senior staff members failed to properly investigate an attack I reported on a young man aged 16 in which he was punched four or five times by a staff member.

Varey, who claims this contributed to him leaving his post, said: No one took a statement from him even though there were many staff that knew I was unhappy about what happened.

WHSS was unwilling to respond to questions about Varey claims and whether it had carried out an investigation into them, issuing a statement saying: Any such matters would be protected by Data Protection and as such we are unable to make any comment.


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence 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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