In his role as an officer-in-charge of several children’s homes in Leicester during the 1970s and 1980s, Frank Beck had impressed his colleagues with his prowess at dealing with the emotional and behavioural problems of the vulnerable young people in his care.
When he was charged in 1983 with beating a child in his care, a jury acquitted him after hearing adulatory testimonials from his colleagues. Such was the esteem in which he was held that Leicestershire Social Services had not even deemed it necessary to suspend him while he faced trial.
It took a throwaway remark from a mother accused of ill treating her son to reveal the appalling truth that the respected childcare worker was in reality a serial paedophile who had abused his position to indecently assault and rape victims as young as eight over a 20-year period.
The woman told a social worker in 1989 that her treatment of her son was due to the attacks she had suffered by Beck when she was in his care at a home in Leicester in the 1970s. When she went to police with the claims, officers decided to launch an investigation to interview every child who had attended the three homes under Beck’s management since 1973.
The resulting inquiry last two and a half years and took statements from more than 400 people formerly in care. When police arrived in April 1990 to arrest Beck, who had resigned from his post four years earlier, he is said to have replied: “Oh Jesus… No.”
Dozens of witnesses, in their twenties and thirties by the time of the trial in 1991, gave evidence during the 11-week hearing. Many of the adult victims spoke from behind screens, detailing incidents from when they were as young as eight, of being forced to perform oral sex with Beck or of being buggered or raped by him.
Sentencing him to to five life terms, the judge, Mr Justice Jowitt, told him: “You are a man with considerable talents and very great evil. You were entrusted with the care of some of the most disturbed children... many had been sexually abused already and could hardly have been more vulnerable.”
During the trial, one witness, who had previously said he had had a two-year relationship with then Labour MP Greville Janner, named the politician as one of his abusers. The jury was told the claims were a “red-herring” and irrelevant.
Beck died apparently unrepentant in 1994 after suffering a heart attack while playing badminton in the segregated wing of Whitemoor Prison in Cambridgeshire. At the time of his death he had been preparing an appeal against both sentence and conviction.
Criminal complaints but no charges
Frank Beck investigation 1991
A complaint of sexual assault against Greville Janner was made during investigations into the Leicestershire care home manager and paedophile Frank Beck.
A man alleged he had been groomed by the then MP between the ages of 13 and 15. The CPS advised there was insufficient evidence to charge.
Operation Magnolia 2002
During another Leicestershire Police inquiry, allegations were again made against Lord Janner by residents of a Leicestershire care home. Police decided to take no further action against him.
Operation Dauntless 2007
An individual made complaints about serious sexual assault against three people over incidents alleged to have taken place in 1981. The CPS ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge.
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