Legal action 30 years after sex abuse case

A man sexually abused by a former mental health nurse during a trip to Kettleness 30 years ago has begun legal 
action against the NHS trust that employed his abuser.

Joseph Duncalf, 49, was sexually abused by Norman Bevitt, 69, when he was a teenager at a young offenders rehabilitation centre and during a week-long trip to the coast.

Mr Duncalf said his memories of the abuse have haunted him throughout his life and he felt like “he wanted to die” after 
being abused by Bevitt.

Following a trial at York Crown Court the jury heard Bevitt contacted Mr Duncalf through Friends Reunited and asked if he remembered what happened 30 years ago.

Bevitt was later jailed for five years.

Mr Duncalf has now launched a legal case against the Airedale Foundation NHS. He said: “I hope by speaking out others who have suffered abuse from people in a position of trust will feel they can come forward and it is possible to see justice done.

The trust was responsible for the Highland Adolescent Unit, where Bevitt was working and Mr Duncalf was staying when he was abused.

Raman Dhillon, a child abuse lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Mr Duncalf, said: “Joseph has been forced to live with the terrible memories of the attacks he endured at the hands of Bevitt for more than 30 years, which has had a huge impact on his life.

“Joseph has been extremely courageous to speak out about the abuse he suffered to try to inspire others who may be suffering in silence to seek the help they need.

“Now that the criminal proceedings are over and justice has been done we are determined to ensure that Joseph is able to access the help and support he needs so he can begin to put this terrible ordeal behind him and make progress in his life.

“Although abuse is currently high profile due to several celebrities and public figures being convicted or arrested, this tragic case highlights the fact that a large proportion of sexual abuse is carried out by those in a position of trust that seek to take advantage of their situation and the vulnerable people they have been trusted to care for.”