Rochdale child abuse ‘cover-up’ claims probed by police

Rochdale Borough Council has launched a formal investigation into cases of alleged child sex abuse spanning 30 years in relation to Knowl View school – where the former Liberal MP, the late Cyril Smith, has been accused of regularly abusing boys for more than a decade. 

Council leader Colin Lambert said that the investigation will report back by the end of July. 

An existing council inquiry – led by Andrew Warnock QC – was already reviewing files on the school in the face of a wave of litigation from alleged victims, focusing on whether correct procedures had been followed by officials. 

But Lambert said: “We now need to widen the scope of the review beyond the council’s decision making. It is clear that to ensure there is public confidence in the thoroughness of the review we must widen its scope to include a review of all information available to the council.” 

Neil Garnham QC has been appointed to head the expanded review and will liaise with Greater Manchester Police to ensure his review does not compromise any element of the police investigations. 

The formal investigation came the same day that Greater Manchester Police stated that it identified new suspects in their investigation into allegations of historic abuse at a children’s home – Cambridge House – run by Rochdale Council. 

Sir Peter Fahey, Greater Manchester chief constable, said: “We have identified a number of suspects. New victims have come forward. We have ten or 11 suspects.” 

“We note the announcement of the inquiry by the independent QC, announced by Rochdale Borough Council. We will liaise with the QC to make sure that this inquiry does not compromise the abuse investigation and to receive any material relating to our criminal investigation. Our review will be carried out by experienced officers from our Serious Crime Division.” 

Police are currently examining whether there is evidence of a criminal ‘cover-up’ over claims of sexual abuse at Knowl View school linked to the late MP Sir Cyril Smith. Officers are also looking into claims he abused boys at the privately run Cambridge House children's care home, which closed in 1965. 

(Image: PA Wire)

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