A FORMER student who was making a claim against a school where abuse was described as “institutionalised” has died.

Lee Hunt, 36, died just a few days after the High Court in London heard details of the case involving the former Oxley Parker School in Colchester.

More than 60 people have come forward to make claims against the school - some via the courts and others through a payment scheme.

The Eastern Counties Educational Trust (ECET), which owned the school, is understood to be pursuing all non-tariff claims to trial.

Lee’s former partner, Sandra, said: “I know Lee was anxious about the Oxley Parker School Court proceedings and how long it was all taking.

“I know it was preying on his mind.

“I know from everything he told me that Lee’s experiences at Oxley Parker School affected his whole life.

“He wanted some justice and closure from the court action.

“I think he really needed it so that he could finally move on.”


  • The Oxley Parker School. Picture: Andrew Grove and Co

So far three people have died during the course of legal proceedings.

An independent report in 1997 found “sexual and physical abuse was institutionalised in the culture” at the school.

The payment process - known as a tariff scheme - is open until May 2020 and pays fixed sums for different types of abuse. It means claimants don’t have to go to court.

Solicitor Katherine Yates said: “The tariff scheme as it stands does not adequately compensate pupils who suffered severe physical or emotional abuse by staff over a long period of time.

“There is a role for the scheme but it is not a catch all for all Oxley Parker abuse victims. There are many who fall through the net.

“We were disappointed in court to hear the legal representatives of the charity adamant they were going to fight all non-tariff cases to trial.

“I am anxious to get this claim moved on as soon as possible after the tragic death of Lee Hunt.

“We do not want any more casualties from this group of Oxley Parker School survivors. ”

Ms Yates said the team had encountered some problems with claims around a person who victims thought was a staff member in the 1980s. The charity denies the individual worked at the school.

She is asking former pupils and workers to come forward to help with the case.

“We need to prove that even if he was not on the payroll he was a servant or agent of the school, on the premises with the school’s permission and they should, therefore, take responsibility for his actions,” she said.

To contact Ms Yates call 01223 367133 or email katherine@andrewgroveandco.com.

A spokesman for the trust said: "ECET is now solely a grant giving charity making funding available to young people with special educational needs in this region, and none of the current trustees had any connection with Oxley Parker School.

"The former school’s insurers have instructed solicitors who are running the litigation."