Police apologise to teacher wrongly branded ‘dangerous paedophile’

Judge criticises ‘malicious’ actions of two officers who destroyed man’s career with accusations

A police force has apologised after officers destroyed a teacher’s career by telling his employers he was a “very dangerous paedophile” even though he had never been convicted of child sexual offences.

A judge criticised the actions of the two former officers as a “deliberate misuse of power” and accused them of “targeted malice” against Michael Curran, who he said had suffered a “personal tragedy”.

Humberside Police are expected to be ordered to pay damages and now face an estimated £500,000 legal bill following the long-running legal battle. Upholding a civil claim for malfeasance in public office, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC described the language used by the two officers as “utterly toxic”.

Mr Curran, 60, a former member of the De La Salle religious order, taught at the notorious St William’s School in Market Weighton in East Yorkshire in the 1980s. The school, which looked after boys aged 10 to 16 with emotional and behavioural problems, has been at the centre of three police inquiries into historic child abuse following its closure in 1992, which resulted in the jailing of its former principal and chaplain.

Mr Curran was arrested in 2002 and detectives investigating indecent assault allegations against him seized computers at a pre-exclusion unit in Liverpool where he worked. Charges of making and possessing indecent images of children were later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service and he was formally acquitted in December 2003.

The evidence against him was found to be “very weak” and the images not to be illegal. He was never charged with the indecent assault allegations.

The two officers from Humberside Police attended an information sharing meeting with his new local authority employers. An earlier Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation concluded that as well as referring to him as a “very dangerous paedophile”, one of the officers also described him as “plausible but dangerous”, as being “guilty as sin” and “going down spitting and screaming” after he followed legal advice and did not enter a plea at an earlier court hearing. 

Mr Curran was later sacked and has not worked in education since. Neither of the officers has been named and have now left the force.

Judge Richardson QC found the officers had acted unlawfully following an earlier trial at Hull County Court. He said: “I am convinced, upon the evidence before me, that after the acquittal of the claimant in the crown court, officers (certainly one and probably the other) acted with targeted malice towards the claimant.

“It must be remembered the comments were made in the context of a formal meeting where information was exchanged and would have consequences. It was a deliberate misuse of the power the officers possessed, to harm him.”

One of the officers was also criticised in an IPCC report which found the comments made during the meeting to be “unprofessional and unguarded” and “highly prejudicial”.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Leaver said: “Humberside Police apologise unreservedly to Mr Curran for the way in which the disclosure was made in these circumstances, the form that it took and for the personal consequences of this for him.”

Following its closure in 1992, more than 200 former pupils have come forward claiming to have been systematically assaulted while resident at St Williams’ school.

Former principal, James Carragher was jailed for seven years in 1993 for his part in the abuse and for a further 14 years following a 2001 investigation in which he was found guilty of buggery and indecent assault against 22 boys, the youngest of which was aged 12.  Father Anthony McCallen, the school chaplain, was also jailed for three and a half years for offences against children.


Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
peopleLynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance moves audience to tears
Arts and Entertainment
'Right Here' singer Jess Glynne is nominated for Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards 2014
musicExclusive: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of white artists nominated for Mobo Awards
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Separated at birth? Frank Sivero (left) claims The Simpsons based Mafia character Louie on his Goodfellas character
arts + entsFrank Sivero sues Simpsons studio over allegedly basing mobster character on Frank Carbone
Carl Bernstein (left) and Bob Woodward (right) with former 'Washington Post' executive editor Ben Bradlee

The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon


Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London