Survivor Reveals ‘Lifelong Impact’ As Legal Action Begins Over Telford PE Teacher Abuse

Former Midlands Pupil Launches Legal Action To Access Support Following Criminal Conviction


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

A former pupil of an ex-PE teacher and gymnastics coach in Telford convicted of non-recent sexual abuse has spoken out for the first time of the ordeal he faced as a child after specialist lawyers launched legal action to help secure him further help and support to come to terms with what happened decades ago.

Bruce Gracie, 68, from Newton Regis, near Tamworth, was sentenced to 11 years in prison in June 2015 after being found guilty of 30 charges of sexual abuse that took place over 22 years during his career as a teacher and gymnastics coach.

During the trial it was heard how pupils from schools in North Warwickshire, Essex and Stirchley Upper School, near Telford, were abused during PE lessons and were forced to wrestle naked with Gracie.

Following his conviction, lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who specialise in representing survivors of abuse have launched legal action against Shropshire Council on behalf of one of Gracie’s victims, who was abused at Stirchley Upper School, to help him secure funds to access vital counselling and support.

Raman Dhillon, an expert abuse lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who also represents a number of men abused by former Birmingham PE teacher Marcus Marcussen, said:

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“The physical and psychological impact of sexual abuse can have a significant long-term effect on survivors and we have heard first-hand accounts of the trauma abuse can cause in the day-to-day lives of those affected by it.

"Now that justice has been done in the criminal case of Gracie and survivors of his abuse have had their voices heard, we are determined to ensure our client is able to access the help and support he needs to take steps towards trying to put this terrible nightmare, which was inflicted by a person he trusted, behind him and make progress with his life.

"Numerous sexual abuse cases involving celebrity figures have brought this serious issue into the spotlight, but it is important to remember that not all abuse is carried out by famous people and that it is often people in a position of power that seek to take advantage of their situation.

“Survivors of abuse, such as the clients we represent, need to be able to access the help and support they require to help them come to terms with the terrible ordeals they have suffered so they can begin to put their past behind them.”
Raman Dhillon, Solicitor

One survivor of abuse at Strichley Upper School, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I felt uncomfortable, embarrassed, confused and humiliated by the actions of Gracie during PE lessons.

“Once I challenged his behaviour he seemed to leave me alone but everyone in the class suffered in a similar way to myself. As I have grown older the seriousness of what I was subjected to hit me more and more and it began to impact my life.

“Now that Gracie has been convicted of the ordeal he put me and other people through I finally feel like my voice has been heard and that I have some justice.

“For the first time in my life, I now feel capable of working towards putting this behind me and hope that by taking legal action I will encourage others to come forward and get the help and support they need for the lifelong impact the abuse we suffered has had.”