Ongar mum-of-three calls on Eric Pickles to back inquiry into allegations of abuse at Kendall House children's home

Teresa Cooper is calling for an inquiry into Kendall House children's home

Teresa Cooper is calling for an inquiry into Kendall House children's home

First published in News by

A MOTHER-OF-THREE who claims she was overdosed with psychiatric drugs at a children’s home in her teens is pleading with her MP to call for an inquiry.

Teresa Cooper, who lives off Moreton Road in Ongar, was sent to Kendall House – a home for teenagers in Gravesend, Kent – in 1981 at the age of 14.

In her 32 months there, she was forcibly given high doses of drugs including valium and diazepam more than 1,200 times.

She also claims she was sexually abused while under the effect of the drugs.

With child abuse high on the political agenda the 45-year-old is calling on Ongar MP Eric Pickles to demand an inquiry into the Church of England home.

“Kendall House is one of the very few that hasn’t ever been given an inquiry or investigated,” she said.

“The level of abuse was so shocking.

“Especially with all this coming out, there should be an investigation.”

Mrs Cooper now suffers from severe joint and muscular pain, which frequently leaves her bedridden, and her three children have also suffered serious health problems, which Mrs Cooper blames on the drugs.

“My daughter was born with a cleft palate, my eldest son was born with respiratory problems.

My younger son was blind until he was two,” she said.

“Nowhere ever in this country have you ever seen child abuse that directly affects the children born to the victims of the abuse.

“There are 23 women who’ve come forward altogether, and practically every child has been born with a birth defect.”

The Church of England paid damages to her in an out-of-court settlement in 2010, but refused to accept liability for the drugging.

Eleven other women are now preparing to follow in Mrs Cooper’s footsteps and sue the Church but Mrs Cooper says criminal prosecutions and an admission of liability are also needed.

“At the moment we don’t know if the Church are going to fight,” she said.

Mr Pickles said his staff had repeatedly asked Miss Cooper to send him full details of her allegations.

“I basically want the allegations in writing because I can’t abuse parliamentary privilege on something that I’m uncertain about,” he said.

“I’m very willing to help her if she would be kind enough to put down in writing what her story is.

“We have consistently answered every call and we have done our best to get information.”

A spokeswoman for the Church of England said: “The Diocese of Rochester has always stated that we will cooperate with any formal inquiry, and that remains the case.”

Kendall House was closed in 1986 and is now a block of flats.

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