Lawyers demand Cheshire child sex abuse inquiry

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Lawyers acting for 120 victims of child abuse in Cheshire yesterday called for a full public inquiry into Britain's biggest abuse scandal and into persistent allegations of a widespread organised paedophile ring that infiltrated childrens' homes in the Seventies and Eighties.

The lawyers also warned the Secretary of State for Health, Stephen Dorrell, that they would sue him if he did not order a public inquiry into a the scandal that has so far seen 13 men jailed for 110 years, 111 people named as abusers and 534 former residents claiming they were abused while in children' homes in the area.

Peter Garsden, a solicitor co-ordinating the legal actions being taken by a number of firms on behalf of clients, said: "We have had 13 convictions as a result of a police inquiry which began three years ago and there should now be a public inquiry into the most serious paedophile investigation ever carried out in this country. I believe there was a paedophile ring in existence which was as disciplined as the Mafia."