New inquiry into child abuse claims

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Detectives are to launch a fresh inquiry into child abuse allegations following the conviction of the paedophile care-worker Keith Laverack, it was revealed yesterday.

Laverack's case, described by Judge Huw Daniel at Chester Crown Court as the most serious of its kind that he could remember, has been at the heart of a police investigation into more than 500 separate allegations of abuse, which has already seen twelve paedophiles tried and convicted.

Now Cambridgeshire police say they are investigating fresh allegations by former residents of children's homes in the county. Allegations were made against two other social-services staff in Cambridgeshire during the trial. Police say they have also received several telephone calls in the wake of Laverack's conviction.

Laverack, 52, a social services manager with Cambridgeshire County Council, was jailed for 18 years at Chester Crown Court two weeks ago after being convicted of 15 child-abuse charges.

A jury heard that he had abused children in his care during 30 years as a teacher and headmaster at children's homes in Cambridgeshire and Cheshire. He began his paedophile career as soon as he joined the staff of Greystone Heath, an approved school in Warrington, and continued, as he rose to become a senior social services manager, until 1987.

Laverack denied the 20 specimen charges against him. But the jury found him guilty on 11 counts of buggery and four of indecent assault after almost nine hours of deliberation at Chester Crown Court. Many of his victims were in court and broke into applause as he was led away.

As he passed sentence, Judge Huw Daniel told Laverack: "You were confident you could get away with it because the system allowed you to get away with it, and you ensured the silence of these children by threats and sweet-talk, confident in the knowledge that if these children did complain they would not be believed."

Det Supt Ian Negus said a new team of officers had been set up in Cambridge to investigate allegations "against a number of people".

The cases have snowballed since an initial complaint made by a young man who walked into a police station in Cheshire three years ago and have spread to 14 other forces from Scotland to the south of England.

In Cheshire and Merseyside more than 5,000 former children's home residents have been traced and in Cheshire alone 500 complaints of sexual and physical abuse have been made against 111 former care home workers.