Three former pupils complain of sex abuse by adults at school linked to late Cyril Smith MP


Kim Pilling
Monday 28 April 2014 12:05
Cyril Smith (centre)
Cyril Smith (centre)

Three former pupils at a residential school linked to the late Sir Cyril Smith have complained they were sexually and physically abused by adults.

The historic allegations from the 1970s onwards relate to Knowl View School in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, where Sir Cyril was chairman of governors.

Last November, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) stated that Sir Cyril abused young boys in the 1960s in his role as secretary of the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association.

He had been accused of abusing eight youngsters at Cambridge Hostel in the town by spanking and touching them.

It emerged the force had also received a new complaint against the former Liberal Democrat MP during his time at Knowl View - a council-run school for vulnerable boys which closed in the 1990s.

In 2000, GMP carried out a "comprehensive investigation" into abuse claims at the school which led to the conviction of one man for indecent assault and gross indecency.

There was insufficient evidence to charge any other individuals and no specific allegations were made at the time against Sir Cyril.

GMP are now looking at fresh claims of abuse at Knowl View received in the wake of the Cambridge House announcement in November.

In a statement, Detective Inspector Caroline Ward said: "Following the publicity surrounding Sir Cyril Smith last year, a small number of people came forward to report physical and sexual abuse which occurred at Knowl View from the 1970s onwards.

"Those allegations relate to physical and sexual abuse that took place between pupils and adults at the school and these complaints are currently being investigated by officers from Greater Manchester Police's Public Protection Division.

"The allegations we have received are building up a picture of the regime that was in place at Knowl View at that time, and I would encourage anyone who was a victim of either sexual or physical abuse to come forward and speak to police as the more evidence we have the better the chances of bringing abusers to justice.

"We totally understand that for many people they will not want to relive the abuse they suffered, but for those who do want to come forward I want to give you complete confidence that your complaints will be treated seriously and thoroughly investigated."

The above allegations are understood to not be against Sir Cyril.

Three separate files regarding Sir Cyril Smith's actions at Cambridge House were passed to first the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Crown Prosecution Service although on each occasion no prosecution was pursued.

Sir Cyril, who died in 2010, served as an MP for 20 years before retiring.