Nursery nurses to be compensated for wrongful imprisonment

The home secretary is set to pay compensation for wrongful
imprisonment to two former nursery nurses who won a libel case
after being accused of child abuse, writes Amy

Christopher Lillie was in jail for 10 months and Dawn Reed for
14 weeks. The size of the sum, which is also for being wrongfully
charged, is as yet unknown, but is expected to be announced by the
end of next year.

Lillie and Reed were originally charged with abusing children at
Shieldfield nursery in central Newcastle in 1993, but were
acquitted a year later. Newcastle council launched an independent
inquiry after pressure from parents of children at the nursery. The
resulting report  ‘Abuse in Early Years’, published in November
1998, said the pair were guilty of sexually abusing children in
their care.

The pair then launched a successful libel action against the
council and the authors of the report, who all had backgrounds in
social work.

Speaking at the end of the six-month libel trial in July, Mr
Justice Eady concluded that there was no basis for the review
team’s allegations, and condemned the review process as a
“shambles” that denied Lillie and Reed basic legal safeguards. He
awarded them £200,000 each in damages.

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