Theresa May calls extent of paedophile activity across Britain 'absolutely horrific'

 

The extent of paedophile activity across Britain is “absolutely horrific”, the Home Secretary told MPs as she set out fresh details of investigations into sex abuse in North Wales care homes and into Jimmy Savile’s activities.

No fewer than nine inquiries are underway following a stream of allegations against the late TV presenter and new accusations that a previous probe into the care home scandal failed to uncover the full truth, including the alleged involvement of a senior Tory linked to the Thatcher government.

In a statement to the Commons, Ms May refused to commit herself to a full, wide-ranging public inquiry into the array of claims about child abuse. MPs of all parties now support the move – and in angry exchanges a Labour frontbencher accused her of being part of a “cover-up” designed to stop the truth emerging.

Ms May urged the police to follow evidence of paedophile activity “without fear or favour” and insisted that no area should be “off-limits” to detectives investigating sex abuse.

She referred to the recent scandal of the abuse of teenage girls in Rochdale, as well as paedophiles preying on youngsters online, as she made clear the problem was as prevalent today as in the 1970s and 1980s.

She said: “We now see the online grooming of children, the street grooming of children, a number of variations of child abuse.

“I think what is absolutely horrific, frankly, is the extent to which this child abuse has been taking place over the years and across our communities over the years.”

Ms May announced that Keith Bristow, the head of the new National Crime Agency, would investigate new allegations of abuse in children’s homes in North Wales between 1974 and 1990 as well as the original police handling of the case.

He has been asked to report by next April.

She also confirmed the Waterhouse Inquiry, which reported in 2000 on the allegations, would be reviewed.

The police watchdog, the HMIC, will examine whether allegations received against Savile by forces across the country were properly examined.

The Labour deputy chairman Tom Watson, who last month claimed there was “clear intelligence” suggesting a historic paedophile ring was linked to Downing Street and a former prime minister, said her “narrowed-down” inquiries would mean “despicable paedophiles” remaining undetected.

To shouts of anger from Tory MPs, he said: “Does she sincerely want to start making amends or can she live with being what she has just announced: the next stage of a cover-up.”

In addition to the three inquiries, a further six have already been announced following the allegations over Savile’s activities.

The BBC is conducting three internal investigations, the Department of Health is examining how Savile gained access to hospitals and the Director of Public Prosecutions is reviewing the decision in 2009 not to prosecute him.

The Metropolitan Police has mounted a criminal inquiry – Operation Yewtree - into abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile and his associates at the BBC and elsewhere.

Steve Messham, one of the North Wales abuse victims who has come forward with new allegations, met David Jones, the Welsh Secretary, to detail his claims.

Mr Messham told Channel 4 News last night that he broke into a flat of one of his abusers to steal photographs of the abuse he endured, but that police failed to act on them.

He said: “I broke in knowing he was away, and I found all these photographs and I handed them to the police - and out of that two people got prosecuted, and one got a caution and that was it.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory