Victims Reveal ‘Lifelong Trauma’ As Legal Action Begins Over PE Teacher Abuse

Former Pupils Instruct Lawyers To Gain Support Following Conviction


Former pupils of an ex-PE teacher in Birmingham recently convicted of non-recent sexual abuse have spoken for the first time of how the ordeals they faced as children have affected their lives, after lawyers launched legal action to help them secure justice and further support to help them come to terms with what happened.

Marcus Marcussen, 91, from Rochford, was sentenced to nine years in prison in February 2015 after being found guilty of 25 counts of indecent assault on boys during his time working at the Illmington Road Comprehensive School in Weoley Castle between 1957 and 1978.

During the trial it was heard how pupils suffered physical and sexual abuse in lessons with the teacher, as well as at swimming sessions held at the Square Club. Judge Nicholas Webb described the offences as “tinged with sadism”.

Following his conviction, lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who specialise in representing victims of abuse following their ordeals have launched legal action against Birmingham City Council on behalf of six of Marcussen’s victims, to help them secure funds to access vital counselling and support.

Expert Opinion
"All of those we act for are men in their 50s who have been forced to live for most of their lives with the pain and trauma of the abuse they endured at the hands of Marcussen.

"This has had a massive impact on their lives and we have heard first-hand accounts on how victims have endured breakdowns, struggled to trust others, stay in long-term relationships and even attempted suicide due to the lasting effects of their trauma.

"Now that justice has been done in the criminal case of Marcussen and victims have finally had their voices heard, we are determined to ensure that our clients are able to get access to the support they require to take some steps towards trying to put this nightmare behind them and make progress in their lives.

"Although the Jimmy Savile news has brought abuse into the spotlight, it is important to remember that not all abuse is carried out by celebrities and that it is often people in a position of trust or power that seek to take advantage of their situation. It is crucial that survivors of abuse are able to get specialist help so that they can try to come to terms with their ordeal."
Raman Dhillon, Solicitor

Among the victims that Irwin Mitchell represents is Mark Thomas, from Wednesbury in the West Midlands. Now 53, he attended Illmington Road Comprehensive School between 1973 and 1978 and says he was abused by the teacher during that time.

He said: “My life has been ruined by what I have been through and I still suffer as a result of the lasting effect of the trauma. I’ve been unable to keep a job or stay in relationships and the pain has even led me to try to take my own life.

“Marcussen’s conviction was an important step forward after everything I’ve been through and it finally felt like my voice had been heard at long last. Now, for first time in my life, I feel capable of working towards putting this behind me.”

Another former pupil which Irwin Mitchell acts for is John Wassall, who now lives in Bangor, County Down and attended the school between 1973 and 1978. John says he suffered abuse at school and at the Square Club, as well as being made to sleep with three classmates during a weekend at Mr Marcussen’s home.

He said: “It is hard to put into words what it meant when he was convicted, even though it is many years down the line. Nothing will change what I and others have faced, but we all hope that we can look to the future positively and get access to the support we need to take steps towards a recovery.”