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Man jailed in connection with Underley Hall abuse

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A man has been sent to prison in connection with non-recent abuse and cruelty committed at a South Lakeland school.

Derrick William Cooper, 77, of Hillberry Green, Isle of Man, appeared this morning, Thursday April 26, at Carlisle Crown Court where he was sentenced to one year and eight months for one offence each of assault and child cruelty.

The former school owner was found guilty of the offences by a jury last month, when he was also cleared of six other offences.

The sentence forms part of Operation Tweed, which launched in July 2014 when Cumbria Constabulary became aware of a number of people engaging in internet discussions, reporting that they had suffered abuse in residential children’s homes in south Cumbria.

Since the operation began, a dedicated team of up to 20 full-time officers have worked hard to investigate complaints made against a number of people – almost 100 of which reports were made about Underley Hall School.

Supt Doug Marshall, Senior Investigating Officer for Operation Tweed, said: “I am pleased that Cooper has today answered for what he did to the very people who he was entrusted with.

“Child abuse is an appalling crime and its effects can stay with victims throughout their life. I hope that the conclusion of this case today will be the beginning of some form of closure for those who suffered – many who have suffered years of difficulties as a result of the offending.

“Every survivor of child abuse, no matter how long ago it was committed, deserves to have their case investigated, and the police will continue to take all such reports seriously.”