UK & World News

  • 28 April 2014, 13:13

New Suspects In Cyril Smith Sex Abuse Case

Police are to investigate a cover-up of the alleged sexual abuse of children at a Rochdale school by Sir Cyril Smith and up to 11 others.

Police said new suspects and a number of new victims had been identified in the course of the ongoing investigations into sexual abuse at the Knowl View residential school.

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said officers were also investigating whether there was a case of a criminal cover-up of abuse allegedly carried out by the 29-stone politician and urged further victims or witnesses to come forward.

He said: "There are a significant number of people we are trying to trace, obviously made more difficult by the passage of time.

"I would just like to point out that investigations into abuse are extremely difficult. They do take a long time because of, often, the damaged effects on the particular victims and the need for corroboration.

"But we are determined to do a very thorough investigation and obviously when we are carrying out investigations into abuse at institutions, clearly we look at the liability of those who may have been running those institutions."

Rochdale Council has announced an independent inquiry to investigate the cover-up claims that will examine allegations of sexual and physical abuse of boys under the age of 18 by Smith between 1961 and 1995.

It will look at whether there was a culture at the council that "tolerated, facilitated or promoted" the alleged abuse.

Announcing the review, Rochdale council leader Colin Lambert said the QC appointed to head the review would investigate whether council staff or members did anything to stop the alleged assaults being "prevented" or "exposed".

The announcements follow information contained in a newly published book by the Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who now has the Rochdale seat the late Lib Dem MP used to hold.

In the book, Mr Danczuk claims police repeatedly investigated sex abuse allegations against Smith, a former Labour councillor in Rochdale who served as an MP from 1972-92.

He said attempts to prosecute Smith were blocked and police officers threatened with the sack in corruption that could be traced back to the "very top of the establishment" despite 144 complaints by victims.

Mr Danczuk told Sky News: "Everyone has known for 20 years that there has been a cover-up."

He said it was time arrests were made.

Greater Manchester Police said in 2012 that Smith abused boys at the Cambridge Hostel in Rochdale in the 1960s when he was secretary of the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association.Three files were passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions but none was pursued.

Earlier this month, the Liberal Democrats denounced Smith, who died aged 82 in 2010, as "repugnant" but claimed they knew nothing of the allegations.

The party has come under increasing pressure over the matter from those who say the accusations against Smith were so widely known it is a "nonsense" to suggest no one knew about it.

Smith's family has always denied the allegations against him, details of which were first published in 1979.

Mr Lambert said he expected the review by Neil Garnham, which will also look at whether any culture at the council continued after 1995, would be completed by the end of July.

The council had previously announced an independent inquiry into the allegations, however, Mr Lambert said it was clear this now needed to be widened.

Advertisement