Police investigating three physical and sexual abuse claims at school linked to late MP Sir Cyril Smith

Published May 22, 2013 by JS2

Image

The allegations centre around Knowl View Special School in Rochdale, where Sir Cyril was chairman of governors.

 

Three complaints of physical and sexual abuse of pupils at a school linked to the late MP Sir Cyril Smith are now being investigated by police.

The allegations centre around Knowl View Special School in Rochdale, where Sir Cyril was chairman of governors.

The three alleged victims are believed to have been interviewed on video by officers from Greater Manchester Police’s public protection division.

A leading detective said today the investigation was ‘building up a picture of the regime’ in place at the school from the 1970s onwards.

In a statement Det Insp Caroline Ward said: “Following the publicity surrounding Sir Cyril Smith last year, a small number of people came forward to report physical and sexual abuse which occurred at Knowl View from the 1970s onwards.

“Those allegations relate to physical and sexual abuse that took place between pupils and adults at the school and these complaints are currently being investigated by officers from Greater Manchester Police’s public protection division.

“The allegations we have received are building up a picture of the regime that was in place at Knowl View at that time, and I would encourage anyone who was a victim of either sexual or physical abuse to come forward and speak to police as the more evidence we have the better the chances of bringing abusers to justice.

“We totally understand that for many people they will not want to relive the abuse they suffered, but for those who do want to come forward I want to give you complete confidence that your complaints will be treated seriously and thoroughly investigated.”

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk today welcomed the news – and said he hoped the investigation would lead to prosecutions.

The residential school, for pupils with behavioural difficulties, was shut down in 1994 after a dossier detailing abuse was handed to police.

The police investigation follows allegations which first emerged last year that former Liberal Democrat MP Sir Cyril Smith abused boys. In November police acknowledged that the politician sexually and physically abused young boys in the 1960s.

Smith, who was elected to Parliament in 1972, was dogged by rumours of abuse but charges were never brought.

But both Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service said that if Smith had been accused today, he would be charged and prosecuted.

A month later the M.E.N. told how files revealed that at least a quarter of Knowl View’s 48 pupils had been victims of horrific sexual abuse – including boys as young as eight.

The files did not specifically name Sir Cyril Smith, but a whistleblower and a former head of care at the school, Martin Digan, said he feared Sir Cyril was among those abusing boys at the home.

Mr Danczuk said today he was unaware of reports that 10 suspects were being investigated by police in relation to the school.

He said: “I am very pleased that police are putting more effort into investigating these horrific crimes. I wrote to Sir Peter Fahy, the chief constable, some months ago urging him to look at this case.

“There are not many crimes worse than taking away a child’s childhood. I have met victims, and they have been devastated for years by this.

“There is no doubt about it. There was organised abuse at Knowl View. It should have been better investigated.

“Some people raised concerns about it many years ago and for whatever reason, no action was taken.

“I hope that there will be potential prosecutions. People should confess.”

 

by Paul Britton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: