Can I take legal action against a teacher who locked me in a cupboard when I was five?

Can I take legal action against a teacher who locked me in a cupboard when I was five?

Every Saturday, The Consumer Crew are here to solve your problems.
Mel Hunter will take on readers’ consumer issues, Amanda Cable will give you the best advice for buying your dream home, Maddy Tooke rounds up the best coupons to save you money and Judge Rinder will tackle your legal woes.
Judge Rinder
Judge Rinder helps a reader with a health issue
Q) I REMEMBER being shut in a cupboard at school in the 1970s on a regular basis by a female teacher. This experience affected me very badly – I was only five years old.
I missed a lot of school because of it and, since leaving school, I have also found it difficult to work.
I am now on benefits because of severe anxiety and depression.
Last year on a local Facebook group I discovered the same teacher had locked other children in the school cupboard. Do we have any legal redress?
Les, Monmouth
A) What happened to you and other young children at your school was almost certainly a criminal offence.
Locking five-year- olds in cupboards as punishment was an act of child cruelty, even in the 1970s.
Get in touch with the police and report it.
Despite this abuse happening decades ago, there is no definitive legal reason why this teacher – if she is still alive and in decent health – could not be prosecuted.
Pursuing this might also encourage other students to come forward.
Whether or not this ends up in a criminal court, you could bring a civil action against the school and the local authority for failing to stop this.
This would be a very challenging case, as you would have to prove this appalling treatment caused your medical conditions.
I’d urge you to talk to a specialist lawyer – the Law Society has a database of the best.
Collect Being shut in a school cupboard has brought back terrible memories

Q) MY daughter visited us in January, parking on our Tarmac driveway.
When she went to leave, the car would not start and fuel was pouring out from underneath, on to the drive.
As the car was new and under warranty, she called out the manufacturer’s breakdown service.
A mechanic sent by them found a faulty fuel line clip had sprung off, causing fuel to pump out on to the drive.
The fault was fixed and off she went.
The next day, an area of the drive where the fuel spilled was breaking up and I discovered diesel fuel dissolves Tarmac.
My daughter contacted the car manufacturer and the manager accepted responsibility and asked for quotes to repair the damage to the driveway which we provided.
But now the manufacturer is claiming the clip may not have been faulty and is ignoring our calls.
Do they have a legal obligation to pay for the damage to our drive?
Malcolm, Milton Keynes, Bucks
A) The manufacturer is highly likely to be legally responsible for the damage.
The independent mechanic diagnosed the fault with the clip, which was clearly covered by the warranty.
Write to the managing director and the head of compliance at the manufacturer, reminding them of the manager’s admission and demanding payment within 14 days.
If they ignore you then, assuming the value of the damages are under £10,000, take them to the Small Claims court.

Mel Hunter, Reader’s champion
The Sun Mel Hunter advises on consumer issues
Q) I SET up a monthly £15 direct debit with Vodafone for the use of a dongle (a device that plugs into a computer to let you hook up to the internet) – with my laptop.
Without notification, since November 2017 different payments of between £15 and £210 have been taken out of my account.
I wasn’t told this would happen, so I phoned Vodafone to find out why the money was taken.
The company said it had sent me an email saying that I was using more data than I should but I’ve checked my email and there is no such message.
Name and address supplied
A) Most providers will cap the amount of data you use with your dongle, and you assumed that was the case with the one you bought.
But it turns out that it wasn’t and you were none the wiser as you racked up mighty monthly charges which went unnoticed amid all your other monthly bills.
You’d checked your email but Vodafone has now explained that it actually sent notifications to your Vodafone Mobile Broadband Dashboard, which is why you’d missed them.
Vodafone refunded you the extra charges, of more than £600, telling me: “Once a customer has used up data allocated in their plan, charges vary depending on the amount of excess data used.
“As the customer bought his Vodafone Mobile Broadband dongle at a Tesco store, we had no opportunity at the time of purchase to offer advice.”

Alamy My son wrote my car off
Q) MY adult son, who has severe mental health issues, took my car key without my knowledge and crashed my car, writing it off.
I told my insurer, AXA, and they told me not to worry, and lent me a courtesy car for two weeks.
Four weeks after I’d returned it I’d still not heard anything, and I was really struggling without transport.
My emails and phone calls were ignored until AXA finally told me I’d get a payout of £2,100.
On that basis, I borrowed money to buy another car.
However, the payout never came and then AXA told me it would not be paying anything after all.
Apparently, my policy states that if the car is taken by family, my insurance is invalid.
I had to comb through the small print to find this, and had not been told this in any of my previous calls with AXA.
Distressingly, I am now left unable to pay back the loan a friend kindly lent me.
Jennifer, Southampton
A) I asked AXA if it could accept its part in your predicament and consider coming to a compromise with you.
It agreed to pay you £700 – a third of the amount you’d claimed – which at least allowed you to pay back some of the loan to your friend.
A spokesman told me: “We believe there was a genuine misunderstanding as to how the claims process works.
“We recognise the customer acted in absolute good faith, which is why we offered an ex-gratia payment of £500.
Furthermore, to compensate for the delays in resolving this, we’ve added £200.”

Jane Hamilton, property expert
Stewart Williams – The Sun Jane Hamilton gives tips to tenants who want pets
BEING driven barking mad trying to find a pad to rent with your pet? It’s no surprise, research from lettings site Spareroom shows only three in ten landlords allow them.
So here are some tips from on finding a home you and your pet can enjoy without risk of eviction.

Don’t leave your house-hunt till the last minute.
It’s harder finding a pet-friendly property, so give yourself six to eight weeks. Be as flexible as possible on location and property type.Zoopla and SpareRoom both have a pet-friendly property filter.
Demonstrate you are a responsible pet owner. Provide a reference from your previous landlord to show your pet caused no problems.
Offer a higher deposit. This will help to reassure the landlord you will cover any damage caused by your pet.
Check which pets are banned. Some landlords will not allow cats or dogs but may let you keep fish or a bird.
Offer to insure against pet damage. A policy will cost a few pounds per month on top of your normal pet insurance but may help sway your landlord’s mind.
Get written permission. If your landlord has given you permission to keep a pet in your property, make sure you get it in writing. This will prevent problems arising in future.

Getty – Contributor Make sure to get permission for your pet cat

YOU wouldn’t think so from watching the EastEnders in Albert Square but folk living on a “Square” have the edge over other property owners.Addresses with this magic word command 117 per cent more than the average property.
Next most desirable is the word Hill, with prices up 85 per cent, followed by Place at 59 per cent more than standard.
But living on a Drift will see you down by 29 per cent on the average home, the study from One77 Mortgages showed.
BBC Living on a Square increases your property value

Maddy Tooke, Coupon Queen
John McLellan
My top five freebies this week

Top 10 deals for Mother’s Day
Getty – Contributor

Get £20 off Ben Sherman orders over £150 until March 24 at
Save 35 per cent on card orders at Funky Pigeon until May 1 at
Free meal for Mum at Toby Carvery this Mother’s Day. Just download the Toby Carvery app and see
Mums go free to Longleat safari park in Wiltshire on Saturday, March 30 and Mother’s Day when accompanied with a full-paying adult or child. See
Save 25 per cent on Mother’s Day flowers from Blossoming Gifts until March 31 at
Free large milk chocolate star model from Thorntons, worth £12, with orders over £25. See Expires April 30.
Get 20 per cent off adults’ boots from Clarks. Spend over £50 and get free delivery. Order through and earn up to three per cent cash back. Expires tomorrow. See
New members get a £15 cashback bonus when ordering from eflorist. See The rose and lily bouquet for £19.99 with free chocolates would only cost £4.99. Offer expires March 31.
Get ten per cent off at The Fragrance Shop in store or online. See
Save 30 per cent on Hot Diamonds Outlet until Tuesday. See

Our top eight apps to help you save money in 2019


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