Child sex abuse: Magistrate made 'veiled threats' to officers investigating Sir Cyril Smith allegations
The man told the detective: 'The prosecution... will have unfortunate repercussions for the police force and the town of Rochdale'
Thursday 17 July 2014
A magistrate who was a friend of Sir Cyril Smith made “veiled threats” to officers investigating allegations that the late MP was sexually abusing boys, according to a police report made in 1970.
The document, which was seen by BBC News, has come to light amid allegations that there was a ring of predatory paedophiles operating in and around Westminster in the 1980s.
Written by a detective superintendent, it said there was “prima facie” evidence that the Liberal MP for Rochdale had carried out “numerous offences of indecent assault”.
The report, from which several names had been redacted, said the officer had interviewed a magistrate who was “buddies” with Mr Smith “and not only politically”.
The man told the detective: “In my opinion, as a Justice of the Peace, it is not court-worthy. The prosecution can do no good at all and the backlash will have unfortunate repercussions for the police force and the town of Rochdale.”
The officer wrote that the “veiled threats and innuendos contained therein reflect XXXX’s general attitude to this enquiry”.
Police were investigating allegations of sexual abuse by eight boys, including six who had stayed the private Cambridge House care home in Rochdale, which closed in 1965, before Mr Smith became an MP.
The detective said it “seems impossible to excuse [Smith's] conduct”.
“Over a considerable period of time, while sheltering beneath a veneer of responsibility, he has used his unique position to indulge in a series of indecent episodes with young boys towards whom he had a special responsibility,” he wrote.
He said that Mr Smith was “most unimpressive during my interview with him”.
“He had difficulty in articulating and even the stock replies he proffered could only be obtained after repeated promptings from his solicitor,” the officer said. “Were he ever to be placed in the witness box, he would be at the mercy of any competent counsel. Prima facie, he appears guilty of numerous offences of indecent assault.”
Mr Smith was not prosecuted for the alleged offences.
His family told the BBC that he had denied the claims and said they were sad the matter had come to light when he could not defend himself.
Earlier this month, the Rochdale’s current MP, Simon Danczuk, who recently published a book alleging a 40-year cover-up of paedophile offences committed by Mr Smith, told the home affairs select committee that he believed politics was the “last refuge of child sex abuse deniers”.
An inquiry into child abuse claims is being set up by the Government. It was to be chaired by Baroness Butler-Sloss, a former High Court judge, until she was forced to step down following allegations that her brother, the late Sir Michael Havers, tried to thwart an attempt to expose paedophile activity while he was Attorney-General.
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