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
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

Guru Careers: Copywriter / Direct Response Copywriter

£20k plus sales linked bonus. : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Copywriter to j...

Recruitment Genius: Accounting Technician

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has bec...

Guru Careers: 3D Creative Designer

Up to £26k DOE: Guru Careers: A Junior / Mid-Level 3D Creative Designer is nee...

Recruitment Genius: Ecommerce Website Digital Marketing Manager - Fashion / Retail

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You'll be joining a truly talen...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen