Five people who allegedly endured a regime of physical and
emotional abuse at a children’s home in the 1960s and 1970s have
been awarded a total of £142,000 in an out-of-court
The London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, which placed the
five at Barlavington Manor in Petworth, West Sussex, agreed to the
settlement last week without admission of liability. Allegations
were also made against Southwark Council in London and Hampshire
The five unidentified claimants, now in their 30s, said they had
been beaten with a bat, forced into boxing matches with older boys
and underwent induced drowning.
Their counsel, Elizabeth Gumbel, told the High Court that the
“repeated acts of abuse” should have been detected by the councils,
which had breached their duty of care.
She added that the home’s managers, John and Anna Ellis, both of
whom are now dead, were “unfit to care for children in public
Kate Thirlwell, representing the local authorities, said her
clients were “unaware” of the alleged brutality at the home and had
only settled in the light of “commercial realities”.
Although 13 former Barlavington residents sued, five other cases,
including one against Southwark, were withdrawn and three were
settled by Hampshire before the hearing.