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Almost £100,000 settlement for childhood sexual abuse legal claim against St Barnabas’ Church

A man who describes being sexually abused as a child by former choirmaster David Turner has received a £95,000 settlement in a civil claim.

Posted on 10 April 2024

Christopher, who is now in his 50s, turned to law firm Leigh Day to bring a civil claim on his behalf against the church for the injury, harm and losses suffered as a result of acts of abuse by the alleged perpetrator.

The former choirmaster had taken a special interest in Christopher after he joined the choir, and would take him to a local swimming pool without any of the other boys. Christopher claims that the choirmaster would insist that they both swim naked, and would make Christopher touch him inappropriately in the changing rooms and would also touch Christopher inappropriately.

Christopher states how the abuse continued to escalate, and at an annual choir camp the choirmaster would wake him up multiple nights a week and take him to a nearby stream and sexually abuse him. He recalls that children were taken to the stream by other adults from the camp at the same time, and he believes they were also assaulted.

Christopher reports that the abuse only stopped once he moved homes and no longer attended the church.

Later in life, Christopher suffered from ongoing mental health difficulties and alcohol dependency and has received counselling.

Some years ago, the Claimant approached the church, but the vicar at the time said that they were unaware of any abuse during that period.

In 2020 the Claimant approached the police after reading a newspaper article on abuse within church. It transpired that Turner had died and therefore could not personally be held to account at a criminal trial. However, Christopher’s legal claim against the church was settled for a five-figure sum for general damages to his wellbeing and therapy costs and loss of earnings.

Christopher said:

“I have carried this abuse for the last 40 years, surviving a suicide attempt in my 20s. The abuse was carried out by David Turner and was made possible by my involvement with the church choir. I truly hope that the Church will reflect and start to become more open and honest with the many victims that they are responsible for. I still want answers but the Church remains much too defensive and secretive.”

Andrew Lord, Leigh Day solicitor who represented Christopher, said:

“My client has described suffering the most horrific abuse as a child by a man who took advantage of his position of authority for years. No one should have to go through what Christopher has been through, and the fact that Turner has died had denied my client a sense of closure. While nothing can undo the damage that has been caused, I hope that the settlement from the church can help Christopher to move forwards with his life.”

Andrew Lord
Abuse claims Human rights

Andrew Lord

Andrew Lord is a senior associate solicitor in the abuse claims team.

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