Man abused at children’s home fails in bid to claim damages from council

A 47-year-old man who was sexually abused by a manager at a privately-run children’s home when a teenager has failed in a bid to claim damages from the council which had responsibility for his care.

The man had been sent to Bryn Alyn Hall, in Llay, near Wrexham, in 1989 while in the care of Manchester City Council.

He accepted that the council was “not directly at fault” for the abuse he suffered but argued that bosses were liable for the acts of his abuser, John Allen (pictured).

A High Court judge has ruled against him.

Mr Justice Cavanagh concluded that the council was not “vicariously liable” and did not have a “non-delegable duty” to protect the man.

The judge, who is based in London, delivered a ruling on Wednesday after analysing legal arguments at a High Court hearing in February.

He said the man could not be identified in media reports of the case.

Allen had been the chief executive of the Bryn Alyn Community, a privately-owned children’s “residential community” which operated a number of children’s homes in north Wales and Shropshire, the judge said.

He had been convicted of “numerous historic sexual offences” at three trials, the last of which was in 2019, and given lengthy prison terms.

Mr Justice Cavanagh said the man had targeted the council because other compensation routes were not available.

He could not claim compensation from the company which owned the Bryn Alyn Community, Bryn Alyn Community (Holdings), nor from the company’s insurers.

“It is impossible to examine the issues in this case without feeling great sympathy for the claimant,” said Mr Justice Cavanagh.

“There is no doubt that he suffered serious sexual abuse, whilst a child, at the hands of John Allen.

“However, through no fault of his own, he has been unable to recover any compensation from the company, because it is in liquidation, and he has been unable to recover any compensation from the company’s insurers because the contract between the company and its insurers excluded liability for the deliberate actions of the company itself or its managers.”

The judge said there was “no point” in seeking damages from Allen because he has been in prison for many years and was “likely to remain there for many years to come”.

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