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Three ex-teachers Colwyn Baker, David Hennessy and Nigel Putman deny abusing 22 schoolboys at Swaylands School in Penshurst

Three former teachers at a Kent school denied a total of 57 charges involving 22 boys when they appeared in court today.

The trio are alleged to have abused pupils at Swaylands School, in Penshurst, between 1963 and 1993.

In the dock at Maidstone Crown Court were Colwyn Baker, of Morningside, Edinburgh; David Hennessy, of Westfields, Narborough, Kings Lynn, Norfolk; and Nigel Putman, of Kings Road, Slough, Berkshire.

Defendants Nigel Putman and David Hennessy

Baker, 70, denied 30 charges of indecent assault on a male and five other serious sexual offences.

Hennessy, 73, denied 19 charges of indecent assault on a male and Putman, 61, three charges of indecent assault on a male.

Isobel Ascherson, for Hennessy, submitted the trial date should be moved from October 20 to the new year to allow more time for its preparation.

The trial length has been estimated at eight weeks, but Miss Ascherson said it would be "clearly 10 to 12 weeks", adding: "The October date is too soon in a case of this complexity and size."

But Judge Jeremy Carey said the October date should remain.

Three former workers from the former Swaylands School are standing trial

Baker, Hennessy and Putman, who are on conditional bail, were arrested after a "lengthy and complex investigation" in which alleged victims were identified by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

The residential school was established in 1942 for boys aged seven to 19 with emotional and behavioural problems and was run by the London Borough of Barnet Council until its closure in 1994.

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