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Sex abuse victim Kim Fawcett sues school for ‘failing to spot signs’

Kim Fawcett Image copyright Kim Fawcett
Image caption Kim Fawcett was abused by her mother’s partner when she was a teenager

A woman whose abusive stepfather made her pregnant as a teenager is suing her former school over claims it failed to spot signs of the abuse.

Kim Fawcett’s abuser, Oswestry truck-driver Robert Stuart McClelland, was jailed for six years in 2004.

Human rights lawyer Ms Fawcett, 30, said Ellesmere College in Shropshire failed to “keep me safe” and plans to take it to the High Court.

But the college said a review found “nothing to support her claim”.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Kim Fawcett missed 65 days of school while she was being abused by her step-father

Ms Fawcett, who now lives in Bristol, has waived her right to anonymity and said her school had “explicit knowledge” of sexual text messages she received from her stepfather, and also knew about the self-harming she carried out as a result.

“None of these concerns were reported to social services,” she said.

“Had the college reported McClelland to social services, the abuse would have stopped in June 2002 instead of June 2003.”

In that year, Ms Fawcett said she was raped, contracted a sexually-transmitted infection and became pregnant by McClelland – aged just 14 – who later told her to have an abortion.

She began legal proceedings after a breakdown last year that she said made her “really start to wonder where all the adults had been in my life”.

‘Utterly furious’

“I have gone from blaming myself to turning that anger outwards on to people I feel should have helped me,” she said.

“I really did deserve better. I am utterly furious for the little girl that I was.”

She initially wrote to the school in 2017 informally outlining her claims, but in light of its rejection of her allegations the case has been put on a formal legal footing

The college’s head master, Brendan Wignall, said the school was “appalled” by the abuse, but “was completely unaware of what had been happening to her”.

“We are very sorry she feels the school let her down,” he said.

“But… we can genuinely find nothing to support her claim, and therefore have no option but to resist it.”

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