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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Denley

Former Teacher Accused of Sexual Abuse at Formby High School

A group of former Formby High School pupils have made allegations of historic sexual abuse against a teacher who committed suicide in 1992.

They claim Ian Farquharson, who was Head of Lower School at the time, sexually abused them in the 1980s and early 1990s when they were just 11 and 12 years old.

Mr Farquharson died of carbon monoxide poisoning in May 1992 after attaching a hose to his car exhaust. A complaint about his sexual abuse of children at Formby High School had been made to the headmaster the day before his death and it is believed that he left the school premises within hours and drove to North Wales where he killed himself.

The accusers, who are now in their 40s, are claiming compensation from Sefton Council for the horrific abuse they endured from approximately 1975 up until his death in 1992.

Solicitor Katherine Yates, of Andrew Grove and Co Solicitors in Cambridge, is currently acting for six Formby High School abuse survivors but is urging anyone else who may have been affected to come forward.

“Mr Farquharson used to see pupils in his office to give them extra help with reading and writing,” explained Kathy. “He used these sessions as an opportunity to sexually abuse young boys.

“Many of those targeted by Mr Farquharson feel their lives have been ruined by the abuse they suffered at his hands. It appears that no counselling or support was offered at the time the abuse came to light and investigations are now taking place to ascertain what was known by the school and the local authority at the time of Mr Farquharson’s death.

“I cannot help but think that the severe psychological and psychiatric damage suffered by my clients could have been lessened if appropriate support had been provided when the abuse was first discovered.

“It appears that rather than offering counselling and support to the child victims a memorial plaque was placed in the school grounds which was unveiled with much ceremony and caused considerable further upset to the children concerned.

“School staff referred to Mr Farquharson’s death as being tragic whereas the suffering he caused among the children he abused was the real tragedy in this sad case.

“I believe it is important that if anyone was abused at Formby High School, they make themselves known to my firm. We are listening and we want to help. It does not matter if you have not previously made a complaint.

“There are many reasons why people feel anxious about coming forward, but we would encourage anyone who suffered at Mr Farquharson’s hands to get int touch. All claims are being funded on a no win, no fee basis so financial concerns should not prevent anyone from making contact and bringing a claim.”

David (name changed) was a pupil at Formby High School and was sexually abused by Mr Farquharson for two years until shortly before his 13th birthday.

“That man ruined my life,” he said. “Not a day goes by when I don’t think about what happened.

“Every time something comes on the news about child abuse it triggers an anxiety attack. I can never get him out of my head. It is like re-running an old film. I am relieved that something is finally going to be done to help all the victims try to recover from the trauma that Mr Farquharson’s abuse caused us.

“I was an innocent 11 year old when I was summoned into his office for extra help with writing. I had no idea on that day of the horrors I was going to suffer for the following two years.”

Solicitors with conduct are Katherine Yates and Charlotte Denley and both can be contacted for further information on 01223 367133 or by email at or

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