Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Smith abuse claims at former school

Rochdale Council is reviewing manual records of a former local authority school as another alleged victim of MP Sir Cyril Smith said he was abused by him there

A council is reviewing its manual records of a former local authority school as another alleged victim of Sir Cyril Smith said he was abused by him there in 1979.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said earlier that the late Liberal Democrat MP sexually and physically abused young boys in the 1960s as there was "overwhelming evidence" against him.

Three separate files regarding his actions were passed to first the director of public prosecutions (DPP) and the Crown Prosecution Service but on each occasion no prosecution was pursued.

Sir Cyril was secretary of the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association and was accused of abusing eight youngsters at Cambridge House hostel in similar fashion by spanking and touching them and is now linked to similar allegations at council-run Knowl View school for vulnerable boys, which closed in 1992.

Police sources confirmed one of two recent complaints made to GMP about Sir Cyril is in relation to Knowl View in Rochdale, and the force previously investigated his involvement with the school in the 1980s and 1990s but no claims of sexual abuse were made against him at the time.

Chris Marshall, 40, waived his anonymity as he told the Manchester Evening News he was forced to perform a sex act on Sir Cyril - known as "the fat man" - when he was aged seven or eight.

Rochdale Council is trawling through its manual files on Knowl View and will pass on any relevant information to the police, who have encouraged anyone else who was a victim of Sir Cyril to come forward.

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk, who brought the Cambridge House allegations to light in the House of Commons earlier this month, said he believes Sir Cyril went on to abuse more boys after police decided not to prosecute him in the 1970s.

Sir Cyril's family say they are "deeply concerned and saddened" about Tuesday's developments but pointed out he was not around to defend himself and added they would play no part in "a trial by media".

Meanwhile, Manchester law firm Pannone is preparing legal action against Rochdale Council on behalf of two alleged victims who were based at Cambridge House in the 1960s.

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