Son sues his mother for father's attacks

A son is suing his mother over her alleged failure to protect him from his father's beatings.

The 32-year-old man, who cannot be identified, says that his mother, who is now in her late 60s, assaulted him herself and also aided and abetted the daily punishment meted out by her husband.

His counsel, Justin Levinson, told Mrs Justice Thirlwall in London that she had a duty as a parent to take reasonable steps to protect her son and his four brothers and sisters.

"She should not have allowed her volatile husband to remain in the same house and beat his children – she should have obtained an injunction or divorced him," he said.

The County Durham man, who was brought up in west London, claims he was assaulted up to four times a day between the ages of five and 19 by the father he called a "tormentor". He says he was hit with a stick, belt, electrical lead or wooden brush until he was 16 and struck with an open hand and throttled or choked as he got older.

His mother denies liability for the assaults and says her son is exaggerating. She wept in court as her son said that until 2007, when he saw hospital notes from his childhood which recorded her saying she did not like him and blamed him for her problems, he had thought she was a victim of circumstance – but then realised she was responsible for the continuation of the abuse.

The man, who claims he lived in fear from the time of his earliest memories, is seeking damages for pain and suffering as well as £7,800 for the cost of therapy. He says he was unable to complete his education because of phobic anxiety and had difficulty venturing outside the house, forming relationships or holding down employment.

The hearing resumes today.