Predictably, the cover-up continues…IICSA report on Rochdale
It concluded that there was “no deliberate cover-up by the authorities” yet criticised Margaret Thatcher’s “remarkable” decision to award a knighthood to the suspected child abuser Cyril Smith.
Cyril Smith with Lord David Steel MP.
Steel put paedophile MP Cyril Smith forward for knighthood ‘even after he was told of abuse allegations’
Anthony John Wixted @TrojanManifesto
IICSA Cyril Smith finding:
118. The fact that Cyril Smith’s public standing and professional career were never negatively impacted in any significant way by the suggestion that he was involved in child sexual abuse has given rise to considerable speculation that he was in some way protected by other politicians. We may consider the possibility that Smith was actively supported at the level of national politics, or at the very least, had a blind eye turned towards allegations against him, as part of the Westminster investigation.
Resigned Rochdale council leader ‘lied to child abuse inquiry’
Richard Farnell faces police investigation after inquiry says he lied while giving evidence
Rochdale’s recently resigned council leader is facing a police investigation after an official inquiry concluded that he lied over evidence he gave about child sexual abuse allegations.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) said the evidence given by Richard Farnell about his knowledge of abuse in the Greater Manchester town “defies belief”.
In a report, published on Thursday, the inquiry took the extraordinary step of stating that it believed Farnell lied under oath while giving evidence in October 2017.
Farnell, who is still a councillor in Rochdale, quit on 8 December after weeks of mounting pressure over his testimony at the public inquiry.
In its 154-page report, IICSA described Farnell’s refusal to accept responsibility for events as “shameful”.
Prof Alexis Jay, the chair of the inquiry, said: “After listening to the evidence presented by a number of victims and survivors in Rochdale at the time, I am deeply disturbed at the evidence of extensive abuse and the institutional responses to that abuse.
“Many of those who testified to their abuse have never had the opportunity to seek justice through the courts. I hope that the public hearings and this report has offered them some measure of acknowledgement for their suffering.”
The report, the inquiry’s first into abuse in the UK, follows three weeks of evidence about allegations spanning from the early 1960s to the mid-90s.
It concluded that there was “no deliberate cover-up by the authorities” but “a careless and wholly inadequate response” to the serious sexual abuse of children at Knowl View school.
The report also criticised Margaret Thatcher’s “remarkable” decision to award a knighthood to the suspected child abuser Cyril Smith. It said the knighthood in 1988 showed the “unwillingness of those at the highest level” to believe his victims.
Richard Farnell suspended by Labour party after national child abuse inquiry found he lied under oath
12 Apr 2018
Just half an hour after the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) reported its conclusions, the party confirmed action had been taken against Coun Farnell
Independent Inquiry publishes Rochdale report
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its report into the institutions where children were placed by Rochdale Council, following three weeks of public hearings in October 2017.
The report is concerned with the institutional responses of the council, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service into child sexual abuse in Rochdale between the early 1960s and the mid 1990s.
It highlights the vulnerability of the children at the council-run Knowl View School and how the institution failed to keep pupils safe from harm for 25 years. It finds staff complacent and arguably complicit.
Sexual exploitation of boys was also happening in the town centre, the bus station and the Smith Street public toilets which were across the road from the council’s offices. The report catalogues the total lack of urgency on the part of the authorities to treat the matters as serious sexual assaults; boys as young as 11 were not regarded by those in authority as victims but as authors of their own abuse.
The Inquiry heard evidence about sexual abuse at Cambridge House Boys’ Hostel. It outlines the lost opportunities to prosecute former Rochdale MP Cyril Smith (who was Honorary Secretary of Cambridge Boys’ Hostel) in relation to allegations of child sexual abuse, and the unwillingness of those at the highest level to recognise that a person of public prominence was capable of perpetrating child sexual abuse.
The report is also clear that the Inquiry did not believe the evidence of Richard Farnell, then leader of Rochdale Council, who resigned some weeks after giving evidence about child sexual abuse in council-run establishments. His refusal to accept responsibility for events is described by the Inquiry as shameful.
Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Inquiry, said:
“After listening to the evidence presented by a number of victims and survivors in Rochdale at the time, I am deeply disturbed at the evidence of extensive abuse and the institutional responses to that abuse.
“Many of those who testified to their abuse have never had the opportunity to seek justice through the courts. I hope that the public hearings and this report has offered them some measure of acknowledgement for their suffering.”
Thirty years of child abuse – the many missed chances to save Rochdale’s victims
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published a report many people have waited decades to see – here are some of the report’s key findings, including the abuse taking place right outside the window of the town hall’s social services department.
12 APR 2018
Today the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published a report many people have waited decades to see.
As reported earlier today, the inquiry’s investigation into four decades of abuse in Rochdale , including by the late MP Cyril Smith and on the streets of the town, issues a damning verdict on former council leader Richard Farnell, finding that he lied under oath.
But the wider inquiry is about the victims, what they went through between the 1960s and mid-1990s, and why the abuse was not stopped or prevented.
Here we run through some of the report’s key findings, including the abuse taking place right outside the window of the town hall’s social services department.
Cyril Smith and Cambridge House
The late Liberal MP Cyril Smith was not the entire focus of the inquiry, but he was the ‘starting point’.
IICSA outlines his considerable power within the town – even while still a councillor in the 1960s – and his close involvement with the council’s decisions over where children would be placed in care, more so than would appear to be ‘usual’. Over the course of his political career he was governor of up to 30 different schools in the town.
In particular the inquiry focuses on his activities at the Cambridge House boy’s hostel in Rochdale, set up under by the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association – of which he was honorary secretary – in 1962.
It heard the testimonies of several men who described assaults and molestations carried out under the pretext of medical examinations during the three years it was open, some of which were later reported to the police.
One victim said he believed the couple who ran the hostel had it under ‘instruction’ that any time any boy felt ill, he would be called in to examine them.
When questioned about the allegations in 1970, Smith said that he had been acting ‘in loco parentis’ to the boys there.
“But we found it inexplicable that he thought his role permitted ‘medical examinations’ when he had no medical qualifications,” finds the report.
“He had considerable control over which boys were admitted to the hostel and, in general, showed a strong, perhaps unduly detailed, interest in children in care as his political career developed.
“This interest appeared to go unchallenged by the council.”
It finds he tried to use his power in the town to exert undue influence, including by trying to keep victims quiet – but that the police were not leant on and, in fact, were not well-disposed to Smith at any rate.
Neither does it find evidence of a cover-up by the Director of Public Prosecutions, who in 1970 recommended that he not be charged, or by the committee in charge of awarding knighthoods under the Thatcher government in 1988.
However it is still critical of those discussions, finding: “While there was never any expression of concern for boys who had made allegations against Smith, there was considerable discussion about whether it would be fair to Smith to refuse him a knighthood, and worries about the potential reputational risk to the honours system.
“There was little further investigation into the allegations against Smith by the political honours scrutiny committee, demonstrating a considerable deference to power and an unwillingness to consider that someone in a position of public prominence might be capable of perpetrating sexual abuse.”
The Smith Street toilets
The report identifies a particularly stark fact about the child exploitation taking place right under the nose of Rochdale council .
By the late 1980s the Smith Street toilets, slap bang across the road from the town hall’s social services department and visible from its window – pictured below – had become a well-known place for grown men ‘from all over the north west’, as far away as Blackpool, to seek out sex with young boys, including youngsters from the council’s own Knowl View school.
The report describes how police recorded that ’14 children from various children’s homes had been organised into a ring’ and were ‘extracting money for sexual favours’, organised by an ‘older’ boy – of just 13.
Another child of just 11 is described asking a man for 50p for sexual activity.
All the activity was taking place directly opposite the department charged with protecting them.
“Sexual exploitation of children from (Knowl View) school at Smith Street public toilets was known about by the authorities from at least 1989,” finds the report.
“Indeed, some social services staff could see the toilets from their offices, recognised some of the boys as children in care and were deeply suspicious of what was going on, although there was no apparent follow-up.”
Records of individual children convey a ‘total lack of urgency’ on the part of the authorities to address the problem, however.
“One boy’s file recorded that he had contracted sexually transmitted hepatitis through ‘rent boy’ activities,” says the report.
“We concluded that no-one in authority viewed any of this as an urgent child protection issue. “Rather, boys as young as 11 were not seen as victims, but as authors of their own abuse.”
Police ‘did not turn a blind eye’ to this abuse but were unable to get enough evidence to prosecute, it says.
However there was ‘no satisfactory answer’ as to why they did not charge the men involved, despite knowing the names of perpetrators and having spoken to some of the victims.
Not only was the now-notorious Knowl View school – which was run by the council between 1969 and 1996 – rife with abuse, but even its fabric was not ‘homely, safe, secure, caring or therapeutic’, finds the report, which adds that it also ‘failed in its basic function’ to keep children safe.
Despite widespread abuse within the school by pupils and paedophiles, including known sex offender Rodney Hilton, staff did little or nothing about it, it finds.
In 1990 Hilton managed to get back inside the school – six years after first abusing children there, but staff still did not act.
Even while out on licence a year later he continued to be a ‘malign presence’ there, it finds, yet still ‘little’ was done.
Staff were ‘at best complacent but arguably complicit in the abuse they knew to be taking place and they must take their share of the blame for what was allowed to occur’, says the report.
Meanwhile the council’s handling of appalling abuse at the school – a residential institution for vulnerable youngsters with learning and behavioural difficulties – draws scathing criticism from the inquiry.
As well as slamming the then-leader Richard Farnell for having ‘lied’ to it over what he knew , the report also finds two separate directors of social services seriously wanting.
It is ‘incredulous’ that Ian Davey, acting director of social services in the late 1980s, did not choose to pursue the child protection issues at the school through formal procedures, including pupils being abused at the Smith Street toilets.
“It was his decision alone; it was inexplicable, professionally indefensible and extremely poor judgment on the part of the most senior social work officer in the council’s employment,” it concludes.
Even when Diana Cavanagh took over his role, there were still major flaws in her handling of the allegations, it finds.
While she disagreed with Davey – by concluding that action did need to be taken – and commissioned an independent review in 1992, before also writing her own, the resulting reports were factually inaccurate and ‘flawed’.
There was ‘no urgency’ in resolving the allegations either, it finds, adding: “Matters were allowed to drift.
“All this occurred on Mrs Cavanagh’s watch, made worse by a feeble board of governors who seemed unable to fulfil their governance responsibilities.
“Regardless of the board of governors, Rochdale council was the provider of the facility and its external manager.”
By 1992, the matter was still drifting, it finds, including under the leadership of Liberal Democrat Paul Rowen, who took over from Coun Farnell in May of that year.
“Mr Rowen bore considerable responsibility for the school as council leader from 1992 to 1996,” it concludes.
“As with Richard Farnell, he was prepared to blame others without acknowledging his own failures of leadership.
“At best, he was insufficiently inquisitive about Knowl View school, despite having knowledge of the serious problems that persisted at the school; at worst, as council leader, he turned a blind eye to these problems and chose to give them low priority.”
It does not make a judgement on whether the former MPs Jim Dobbin and Liz Lynne failed to act on this issue once allegations were raised by the school’s former head of care, Martin Digan, due to conflicting testimonies by those involved.
However it does find that Mr Digan – who has campaigned on the scandal at Knowl View for more than 25 years – did pass on his concerns to the MPs.
Police and prosecutors
The report finds no evidence of any cover-up by any institution, including the police.
In particular the Rochdale police officers who investigated the initial claims about Cyril Smith at Cambridge House hostel in 1970 did a ‘comprehensive’ job and were not swayed by his status, it finds.
All the evidence suggests Lancashire police – under which Rochdale fell at the time – were very keen to prosecute, it notes, to the point where they had even drawn up a timetable for the process.
But their 80-page dossier on Smith was knocked back by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the predecessor to the Crown Prosecution Service, in just three days, it finds.
The inquiry is ‘troubled by the cursory nature of this analysis’, as well as the DPP’s denial to the local paper Rochdale Alternative Press nine years later that a file had ever been passed to them. That may well have helped fuel conspiracy theories ever since, it believes.
However it again concludes that there was no evidence of a cover-up and makes no judgement on whether the DPP was legally correct not to pursue a prosecution.
In the early 1990s it finds the police did investigate the Smith Street abuse, although it is unclear why nobody was charged due to a lack of records. Had a better report been commissioned by the council at the time, the police may have more easily been able to act, it adds.
Later, in the 1990s, allegations of abuse surfaced again and were looked at under Greater Manchester Police ’s Operation Cleopatra.
The inquiry does not direct criticisms at GMP but does find the Crown Prosecution Service wanting.
“A valuable opportunity was lost in 1988 and 1999, not only to charge and to prosecute Smith during his lifetime but also for the complainants to seek justice,” it says.
Nevertheless it was the CPS’s advice, not a ‘cover up’, that caused that failure, it finds.
Ultimately the inquiry is fundamentally about the many victims who were abused in Rochdale between the 1960s and the 1990s, some of whom reported their suffering but were ignored.
Some of them ‘may have been very young indeed’, finds the report, which says that not only were they abused in residential care homes such as Cambridge House and Knowl View themselves, but also ‘targeted on the streets of Rochdale’, which it says was a ‘compelling’ reason to investigate abuse in the town.
Many came forward and gave evidence to the inquiry under anonymity.
The report describes the backgrounds of the teenagers and young men who were offered places at Cambridge House in the mid-1960s, often in unhappy foster placements and wanting an escape, or in one case, having moved down from Glasgow to work in a factory in the town.
One victim describes how Smith simply turned up one day at his home and offered him a place at the hostel – and says he was initially ‘happy’ there, but that things later took a darker turn.
Others experienced abuse straight away.
One boy, who was 16 at the time, was told on his second day to have a bath and go to the ‘quiet room’, where Cyril took off his clothes on the pretext of a ‘nit’ check and molested him.
He ran away the next day.
“But the police were called and someone from Cambridge House came to pick him up,” says the report.
“When he was brought back to Cambridge House he was again taken to see Cyril Smith, who shouted at him and asked him to take his clothes off onces more.”
Smith would later pressure him to withdraw his police allegation, which he refused to do, but he was still never prosecuted before his death in 2010.
The children at Knowl View were vulnerable in a whole range of additional ways, some having autism, others with learning disabilities and mental health problems.
At least two children taken into care at the school in 1989 – both aged 11 – were already known to be engaging in sexual activity at the Smith Street toilets, one of them walking up to a man and asking for 50p in return.
Yet while at Knowl View, matters only got worse.
“Not only did his exploitation continue after [he] was placed at Knowl View, he was also being exploited out of the area,” says the report, describing how he had sex with a man at a house in Salford for £5 six months later.
“We conclude that no individual, not any institution with responsibility for them, took decisive action to address what was happening to these exploited children,” it concludes.
Cyril Smith was the Lord Lieutenant for Manchester.
The Queen’s Paedophile Lord-Lieutenants And The Dolphin Square Connection
Rochdale council leader Richard Farnell quits weeks after telling child abuse inquiry he knew nothing about Knowl View scandal
Councillor blamed a ‘small minority’ of Labour members for ‘undermining’ his leadership ever since the hearing
8 DEC 2017
Rochdale council leader accused of being involved in ‘cover up’ of Knowl View abuse, inquiry told
The inquiry was told it was ‘inconceivable’ Coun Richard Farnell did not know about the abuse at Knowl View at the time
27 OCT 2017
Rochdale council leader Richard Farnell faces vote of no confidence
7 Dec 2017
Next Wednesday opposition councillors will table a motion calling on Coun Farnell to step down until the findings of an inquiry into claims of historic abuse at the former residential school for boys are published
Under-fire Rochdale council leader Richard Farnell is to face a vote of no confidence in protest at his handling of the Knowl View child sex abuse scandal.
Next Wednesday opposition councillors will table a motion calling on Coun Farnell to step down until the findings of an inquiry into claims of historic abuse at the former residential school for boys are published.
The motion, which will be put forward by Rochdale’s Lib Dem leader Coun Andy Kelly, states: “This council has no confidence in the leader of the council and calls for him to step down and resign his position until such time that the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) are made public.”
Rochdale Labour group have accused Kelly of ‘using the tragic events at Knowl View for party political mud-slinging.’
His motion comes after Coun Farnell, who was also leader in the early 90s when much of the abuse was taking place, was criticised after giving evidence at the IICSA.
Coun Farnell repeatedly told October’s hearings, which examined claims Cyril Smith, the former Lib Dem MP for Rochdale, and others abused boys at Knowl View and Cambridge House boys hostel, that he had never heard of any allegations relating to Knowl View until recently, adding: “I am not prepared to accept personal responsibility for… failing to take action in this matter.”
He was repeatedly challenged by Brian Altman QC, who pointed out the director of education, director of social services, education chair and opposition members were all on record as having been aware of the allegations, but Coun Farnell insisted he had never been briefed.
During summing up, barrister Laura Hoyano, counsel on behalf of the victims, said it was ‘inconceivable’ Coun Farnell did not know about the abuse, but, she added, if he did not, he was guilty of ‘wilful blindness’ – pointing to ‘a cover up at the level of the leadership of the borough council’.
As the Lib Dems have just two councillors to Labour’s 48, the motion is not expected to gather enough votes to be passed, but Coun Kelly called on his political rivals to ‘do the right thing’ and support him.
He said: “I would call on Labour councillors to vote with their heart and do the right thing.
“Do they honestly believe that Richard Farnell remaining in position is the right thing for this town? That’s the question they should ask themselves.
“If the inquiry comes back and says Richard Farnell has not done anything wrong I will be the first to hold my hands up and say fair enough, but until that point he should step down.
“This is about justice for the victims of Cyril Smith, and let’s also not forget [Former Lib Dem council leader and MP] Paul Rowen was also on the stand during the inquiry, but neither he nor Cyril Smith are serving councillors.
“I will fully support the outcome of the inquiry, whatever it says, because it is about closure for the people who suffered abuse and about the recognition that the people in power at the time did not do what they were supposed to do. That’s the most important thing.”
But a Rochdale Labour group spokesman said in a statement: “If Coun Kelly gets more than two votes for his motion he will be lucky. Just how low can you get? Trying to use the tragic events at Knowl View for party political mud-slinging is appalling. We should be concerned about the victims and not trying to score nasty political points.
“The Inquiry has examined over 140,000 pages of documents relating to Knowl View. There is not one single report, letter, briefing note or memo addressed to Coun Farnell informing him of the events at Knowl View.
“Coun Kelly is deafeningly silent on the Liberal Democrats’ appalling failure to deal with the allegations of abuse made against Cyril Smith. They knew of the allegation going back almost 40 years. What did they do? Nothing.
“It is interesting that Coun Kelly has nothing to say about the former Lib Dem council leader and MP Paul Rowen’s evidence to the Inquiry.
“And just when are the Liberal Democrats going to apologise to the victims for Smith’s horrific abuse?”
Coun Kelly’s motion comes a week after the secretary of Rochdale Constituency Labour Party resigned in protest at the party’s handling of the scandal.
The findings of the IICSA are expected to be published before April.
Theresa May and Amber Rudd suppress Westminster child abuse documents for national security reasons
November 20, 2017
Labour MP Lisa Nandy just revealed in parliament the embarrassing inconsistencies between Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd over documents being hidden from the inquiry into allegations of child abuse by MP Cyril Smith.
“The Home Secretary told me that some papers would be withheld from the Cyril Smith inquiry for national security reasons,” Nandy told the House of Commons, yet she added: “this week the Prime Minister has written to me to say we are clear that the work of the security services will not prevent information being shared with other such inquiries.”
– And she challenged Amber Rudd to confirm “for the survivors of Cyril Smith who have waited for decades” for justice – whether papers on historic allegations of child abuse against Smith will be withheld from inquiries for reasons of national security.
Cyril Smith was a Liberal MP for Rochdale in the 1970’s after Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe – who later resigned amid sexual scandal – insisted the local party have Smith as a candidate even though police had investigated serious allegations of sexual abuse of young boys in care homes in Rochdale where he had been Mayor.
The police investigation was dropped in 1970. Smith died in 2010 and two years later the Crown Prosecution Service admitted that he would have faced prosecution for allegations of child abuse where he still alive with allegations that had surfaced since.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse last month heard how Smith was a governor at several schools in Rochdale, including Knowl View, where one abuse survivor attended as a boy when Smith was governor. He gave horrific testimony of a rape by Smith.
The inquiry is investigating historic abuse in Rochdale schools and care homes and heard how police had warned that Smith had “used his unique position to indulge in a sordid series of indecent episodes with young boys towards whom he had a special responsibility.”
The inquiry was provided evidence by MI5 that the security service had been aware at the time that the Director of Public Prosecutions had lied to journalists about not charging the MP, saying a case hadn’t been referred to them. MI5 appear to have not pursued this serious allegation as their role was “to defend the realm”, the inquiry heard.
A police report into Smith when he stood for election in 1970 read: “he has used his unique position to indulge in a sordid series of indecent episodes with young boys towards whom he had a special responsibility.”
The inquiry also heard that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would have been likely to be aware of the allegations against Cyril Smith when she awarded him a knighthood in 1988.
Lead counsel Brian Altman QC told the inquiry: “It is important to bear in mind the extent to which Cyril Smith continued to involve himself in serious issues related to the welfare of children. A knighthood would only have reinforced Smith’s veneer of respectability and power.”
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Government papers relating to Cyril Smith will not be withheld, PM pledges
Prime Minister Theresa May has given assurances to an MP that Government papers relating to the late Cyril Smith will not be withheld.
Former shadow minister Lisa Nandy told the Commons that she had received a letter from the Prime Minister which stated the “work of the security services will not prevent information being shared”.
The letter prompted Ms Nandy to ask Home Secretary Amber Rudd whether she had been wrong to assert last month that some papers would be held back “under national security”.
The Wigan MP said: “Last month in this House the Home Secretary told me that some papers would be withheld from the Cyril Smith inquiry for national security reasons.
“This week the Prime Minister has written to me to say we are clear that the work of the security services will not prevent information being shared with other such inquires.
“So can she can confirm to the survivors of Cyril Smith (pictured) who have waited for justice for decades that she was wrong and that the Prime Minister is right?”
Ms Rudd replied: “Well I am happy to confirm the Prime Minister is always right and I will certainly look carefully at the letter that she has received to ensure that we comply with it.”
Smith, who was an MP for Rochdale between 1972 and 1992, is accused of sexually abusing a number of boys.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has heard evidence of the abuse and will publish its findings next year.
In her letter to Ms Nandy, the Prime Minister said: “As with the Government’s co-operation with the investigation into allegations of abuse at Kincora Boys’ Home in the 1970s, we are clear that the work of the security services will not prevent information being shared with other such inquires.
“Material relating to the allegations of abuse at Kincora Boys’ Home was disclosed to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry team in full.
“To assist with disclosure, a memorandum of understanding was established between the inquiry team, government departments and security services with regards to viewing and securing potentially relevant material.
“If material was identified as relevant to the inquiry, government department and security services would consider it for public disclosure, in line with UK Government disclosure obligations.”
Claims council leader knew about Knowl View child abuse allegations in early 90s – inquiry told
25 Oct 2017
Leader Richard Farnell told the inquiry yesterday he only heard about allegations relating to Knowl View ‘two or three years ago’
Claims Rochdale’s council leader has known about the Knowl View boys scandal since 1992 were reported to the Labour Party three years ago – but they did nothing to investigate – an inquiry has told.
Richard Farnell – who is both the current leader and was also in charge of the town hall between 1986 and 1992 – was also accused of ‘not telling the truth’ by a fellow councillor in the latest explosive hearing of evidence relating to the scandal.
Yesterday the leader had told the inquiry he only heard about allegations relating to the notorious school, at which boys were abused throughout the 1980s and 1990s, ‘two or three years ago’ when they were raised in parliament.
But this morning his fellow Rochdale Labour councillor Peter Joinson told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) that the leader would have ‘automatically’ known what was going on at the time.
He also said Coun Farnell had admitted to him in 2014 that he had known about the allegations as far back as 1992 – a claim Coun Farnell says is a ‘lie’.
However Coun Joinson said he was sufficiently concerned to have reported their conversation to the regional party.
Those concerns were bounced to the party’s headquarters, he said, passed back to the regional office and then eventually put on hold, because by that point the police were investigating.
This morning’s meeting of the national inquiry – which is currently looking at abuse in Rochdale institutions between the 1960s and 1990s – follows yesterday’s evidence from Coun Farnell himself, in which he repeatedly insisted no senior officer or political colleague had ever told him about abuse taking place at the school.
But Coun Joinson claimed that at a meeting in 2014, when he himself was still chief whip, the council leader had admitted to having seen a draft report into the scandal at some point between March and June 1992.
Following that conversation – shortly after Coun Farnell had told the media he had never been aware of the allegations at the time – Coun Joinson says he raised concerns with the then deputy leader, Coun Peter Williams.
He then raised it with the regional office of the Labour party.
“I felt there was a conflict between what was in the press and the information he’d offered to me,” he said.
“There was a clear difference. As a consequence I sought advice from the regional director of the Labour Party because I felt at that point, because he was council leader, the people who should do the investigation were in fact the people from the regional party.”
Asked what happened next, he said the complaint bounced backwards and forward before being left to the police to follow up as part of their own child abuse inquiry, Operation Clifton.
“I spoke to the regional director,” he said.
“She referred me to a further senior officer in the Labour party in London. I had a discussion with them. They referred me back to the regional director.
“By that time Operation Clifton was going on and the comment of the regional director is ‘we will have to let the police investigation take its course’.
Coun Farnell told the inquiry yesterday that Coun Joinson had made up the conversation about Knowl View, arguing it was a ‘smear’ and the result of an internal civil war raging at the time.
Under questioning by Brian Altman QC, the councillor was asked: “Did you invent any of this, Mr Joinson?”
He replied: “I did not.”
Mr Altman then asked him: “Which means Richard Farnell lied to this inquiry?”
Coun Joinson replied: “I don’t like using that word, but he’s probably not telling the truth.”
Yesterday Coun Farnell told the inquiry repeatedly that at no point had any senior officer or political colleague told him of the emerging allegations around Knowl View at the time.
That included his chair of education, the late Mary Moffat, who he said had not breathed ‘a word’ of the claims to him.
However Coun Joinson suggested that claim was not credible.
“Up to 2004 I held senior positions as a councillor,” he said.
“I was chair of education, then I moved on to be the deputy leader. I was responsible for human resources, finance. It would have been common practice for the chief executive or any chief officer to discuss any area of massive concern with the appropriate member of the council or chair of that committee.
“For me, as chair of education at the time, if that was part of my portfolio I would have automatically gone to the leader of the council.”
When asked whether that would have also been the case during the 1990s, he said: “Yes.”
The Labour party has been asked to comment.
Rochdale Inquiry: Labour councillor Peter Joinson says Council Leader Richard Farnell “not telling the truth” about Knowl View
Is Diana Cavanagh wrong or does Richard Farnell now have to admit he knew about Rochdale CSA for 25 yrs? Page 188
Rochdale’s council leader was subjected to an excruciating grilling at the child sexual abuse inquiry this morning:
Councillor Richard Farnell gave evidence about what he knew about horrific abuse at Knowl View boys’ school during the 1980s and 1990s
…grilling from the government’s national inquiry on child abuse today – over what he knew about horrendous abuse at Knowl View boys’ school during the 1980s and 1990s.
Coun Farnell was also leader of the council between 1986 and 1992, when horrific rapes and sexual assaults – including by paedophile Roderick Hilton, who managed to enter the school in September 1990 – were taking place.
In today’s hearing Coun Farnell repeatedly denied ever having been informed about abuse at Knowl View at the time, despite senior officers having commissioned a damning report into the welfare of boys there in early 1992.
He never read about Roderick Hilton’s crimes in the local paper, he said, despite another witness – former Liberal Democrat politician Paul Rowen – previously testifying that it had been reported in the Rochdale Observer.
Here is part of an exchange between Coun Farnell and Brian Altman QC, who pointed out that in the early 1990s the town’s infamous satanic abuse scandal had already severely embarrassed the council.
BA: You will remember that pretty well, Mr Farnell?
BA: That led to a pretty bad publicity for the council, yes?
RF: Yes, I think that would be a fair assessment.
BA: And not only politically embarrassing for Labour, but those with whom you worked were politically sufficiently astute to have realised that?
RF: Yes, I would say so, yes.
BA: So what did she [Mary Moffat] tell you about Knowl View?
RF: I have no recollection of Mary Moffat raising Knowl View with me.
BA: So Mary Moffat was – for a short period of time during your leadership – your deputy, who was throughout the whole period of time of your leadership the education chair. You say you have got no recollection at all of her ever raising Knowl View with you?
RF: I have no recollection whatsover.
about Hilton’s activities in the last three years.
Neither were emerging worries over abuse of boys in the school ever raised with him by his chair of education Mary Moffat – who for a short period was also his deputy – or by his director of education, director of social services, chief executive or any Tory opposition councillors, he said.
BA: When you say, Mr Farnell, ‘I Richard Farnell have no recollection whatsoever’ what does that really mean?
RF: I do not recollect Mary Moffat mentioning to me any issue concerned with Knowl View. If she’d raised it I wouldn’t have forgotten.
BA: So what you are really telling us is she never did.
RF: Yes. Yes I’m saying that.
BA: So Mary Moffat, in all the years we know there were problems at Knowl View, not a word?
RF: Not a word.
BA: So she left you, your erstwhile deputy and education chair, completely and utterly exposed as Labour leader of the council, to a scandal at Knowl View? Is that what you are telling us?
RF: What I’m saying is Mary Moffat’s style wasn’t to come running to me every five minutes with problems within the department. She was a formidable politician in her own right. She got on with the job and she was confident in her own ability to deal with the issues that were put before her.
BA: But just think what you are saying, Mr Farnell. You are the leader. She was the education chair. And however formidable she was, any astute education chair would not leave the leader un-sighted by the kind of issues this inquiry has heard about going on at Knowl View between 1989 and the time you lost your seat on the council in May 1992. Is that what you are seriously telling the inquiry? She never brought it to your attention?
RF: She never brought it to my attention.
BA: And nor did anyone else?
BA: Not any single chair of any single committee who sat on your ‘chair’ panel?
BA: Not your chief executive John Pearce? Not the borough solicitor?
BA: So you were completely and utterly oblivious to what was going on at Knowl View for all those years?
RF: All those people you have mentioned did not bring that to my attention.
BA: Did anybody else, Mr Farnell?
BA: Is that the reality, do you think?
RF: It’s what happened in Knowl View.
BA: Is it the truth?
RF: It is the truth.
The leader of Rochdale Council has told an inquiry he had no knowledge of the sexual abuse of children at a residential school in the town despite mounting evidence in the early 1990s.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is examining how the late MP Cyril Smith and others were able to target youngsters at institutions in Rochdale over several decades.
It has heard how senior council staff knew about serious allegations of sexual abuse involving children at Knowl View School by the early 1990s.
But Richard Farnell, who regained the position of Labour council leader in 2014 after a gap of 22 years, told the inquiry he was never informed of the scandal during his first stint in office between 1986 and 1992.
The inquiry heard that a paedophile had been admitted to Knowl View in September 1990, where he had sexually abused at least one boy.
The council’s education chairwoman, Mary Moffat, knew about the incident but Mr Farnell insisted the information was not passed on to him.
Brian Altman QC, lead counsel for the inquiry, suggested the idea he had not been told by his political colleague was “ridiculous”.
The inquiry heard that by April 1991, the council was also dealing with the sexual exploitation of Knowl View boys at the town’s Smith Street toilets as well as an “epidemic” of “peer on peer” abuse at the school.
A report submitted on March 20 that year from a worker from the Rochdale health authority detailed claims that boys as young as eight were being targeted by men from as far afield as Sheffield.
It said most people would be “horrified” by the allegations, which had the potential to become a “public scandal”.
Mr Altman asked the council leader: “You knew absolutely nothing at that time of the scandalous nature of what was going on in Knowl View?”
Another report on Knowl View was submitted in February 1992, while Mr Farnell was still in office, but the politician denied he had been shown it at the time.
Mr Altman asked: “You were still completely and utterly ignorant of the problems in Knowl View?”
Mr Farnell replied: “I was unaware of the problems at Knowl View.”
IICSA 24 Oct transcript here
tweets via matt o’donoghue @mattoitv:
I am not the only regional journalist to find a remarkable absence of reporting of #RochdaleCSA from @InquiryCSA in the national media.
24 Oct 2017
hearing evidence from Vince Hill, a former
@GMPolice officer who was part of Operation Cleopatra in late 90’s looking into #CSA.
In 1978 Cyril Smith molested an 11-year-old boy at the National Liberal Club in London; and a teenager in the House of Commons in 1979 and 1980:
Hearings into exploitation of boys at Knowl View School. What did
@Richardfarnell1 know & do as leader?
It does appear form the evidence being put to
@Richardfarnell1 that just about every senior official at the council knew about Rochdale CSA
“I was unaware of those incidents because (they) had failed to inform me of those incidents.”
Others who have given evidence from Rochdale say they were aware of Roderick Hilton and his abuse at Knowl View residential school.
Farnell was in charge during ‘Middleton cases 1991’ – satanic accusations. Farnell has denied anything scandalous during his tenure
Despite saying he cannot remember there is the issue of 20 children who were wrongly taken into care after false “Satanic” allegations.
Many, many people at
#Rochdale council have known about #CSA of boys at KVS for many, many years. But not their leader @Richardfarnell1
BA: What you mean is that it was never brought to your attention RF: It was never brought to my attention, yes.
We’re now being shown a cutting from Rochdale Online from June 2014 where RF described the use of Knowl View as a “political football.”
“Parents of children at the school would be horrified” if they knew. BA: A public scandal was the last thing you needed in 1991, wasn’t it?
.. in the end, Mary Moffat who was your dep and ed chair, she was bound to have told you, wasn’t she?
Rochdale Council leader accuses colleague of lying over abuse claims
A note of a meeting on June 11 that year made by Peter Joinson, the Labour group’s chief whip at the time, read: “At the end of the meeting I raised with the leader the issues of press articles that questioned his knowledge of the Knowl View abuse reports.” The note, handed to police in October 2014, made reference to a report from a sexual health worker employed by the Rochdale health authority. “As a consequence of that report the council was preparing a report, this was between approx March and June 1992,” it continued. “Cllr Farnell said he had only seen a draft report and the full report wasn’t complete until June. By that time he had lost his council seat and ceased to be council leader.” Mr Altman said Mr Joinson was questioned by police about the note in April 2016. “He (Mr Joinson) said you told him there were allegations of sexual abuse in the draft report you had seen,” said the barrister. Mr Farnell said: “No.” Mr Altman continued: “So Mr Joinson completely and utterly invented the content of this meeting with you on June 11?” “Absolutely, yes.” Mr Farnell replied. The council leader suggested Mr Joinson made up the content of the conversation as part of a “bitter election campaign”, which he described as a “civil war within the party”. “Either he’s lying, or you’re lying,” said Mr Altman. Mr Farnell replied: “It’s certainly my contention that he’s lying.”
War of words between Labour colleagues Richard Farnell and Peter Joinson over knowledge of Knowl View sex abuse report escalates
26 October 2017
“I am disappointed that Councillor Farnell is denying a meeting had taken place and, more importantly, to use this to further obfuscate the main issue that he had offered to me the information that he had seen a draft report.
“There should not be any issue for Councillor Farnell here, he had seen a draft report, lost his seat and therefore the leadership of the Council. The responsibility for taking this issue further was therefore in the hands of Councillor [Paul] Rowen who had taken up the position of council leader and not Councillor Farnell. That is all he had to say in any press release he gave in June 2014 prior to our meeting and this particular part of the wider issue would not have occurred.”
Priceless – Richard Farnell – brands calls for his resignation “appalling political mud-slinging” then slings the political mud himself:
Councillor Richard Farnell, Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, has hit back following the call for his resignation by Councillor Andy Kelly, Leader of the Borough’s Liberal Democrats.
Councillor Kelly has called for the “immediate resignation” of Councillor Farnell “as both leader of Rochdale Council and as councillor for Balderstone and Kirkholt” over Councillor Farnell’s evidence to the government’s national inquiry on child abuse.
“Kelly is deafeningly silent on the Liberal Democrats’ appalling failure to deal with the allegations of abuse made against Cyril Smith. They knew of the allegations going back almost 40 years when it was exposed in the RAP article in 1979. What did they do? Nothing.
“It is interesting that Kelly has nothing to say about the former Lib Dem council leader and MP Paul Rowen’s evidence to the Inquiry. He was told about the abuse at Knowl View and refused to meet officers to discuss it, stating he was too busy.
“And just when are the Liberal Democrats going to apologise to the victims for Smith’s horrific abuse?
“Just when is Councillor Kelly going to apologise for the decision of the Lib Dem council who – despite knowing of allegations of abuse carried out by Cyril Smith – unbelievably put him on the governing body of Knowl View school?
Daniel Hewitt @DanielHewittITV
I asked Rochdale Council leader Richard Farnell 8 times if he was sorry to victims of child abuse at Knowl View when he was leader.
“It is deeply regrettable that no politician sees fit to apologise to the victims to Know View. They should be help personally accountable.”
Cyril was, of course, a huge factor in Paul Rowen winning back the Rochdale seat for the Lib Dems in 2005
Sir Cyril Smith with MP Paul Rowen and Rochdale Childer chairwoman Maureen Cooper
SIR Cyril Smith’s 80th birthday party raised almost £4,000 for charity.
Proceeds from the gala concert, featuring Jimmy Cricket and the Debrose Choir at the Town Hall in June, will be donated to Rochdale Childer, a charity which helps children in the borough.
He said: “The fact that we raised so much money for such a worthwhile cause was tremendous. As a founder of Rochdale Childer, I know the excellent job that they do for some of the most vulnerable young people in Rochdale.
MP Paul Rowen added: “Sir Cyril had a great night and we raised much more than we had anticipated. We are working with the Rochdale Childer team looking at a number of options of how to spend this windfall.”
Maureen Cooper, chairwoman of Rochdale Childer, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Sir Cyril’s big bash raised so much money. I can solemnly declare that not a penny will be wasted.
THE big man celebrated his birthday with a big party on Saturday night.
MP Paul Rowen opened the gala concert by introducing a video montage of tributes from political colleagues and celebrity friends, including Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, Paddy Ashdown, Lord David Steel, Coronation Street star William Roache and comedian Jim Bowen, before guests joined in a sing-a-long of his adopted theme tune.
Sir Cyril was as straight-talking as ever during his speech as he praised Mr Rowen,
Council leader Alan Taylor thanked Cyril for being ‘a great inspiration and teacher’.
Alan was of course the olden days Hennigan type character. Cyril Smith’s agent. Party to all the party intrigue. And still sitting pretty. Perhaps young Alan was Cyril’s favoured candidate when Rowen stole the crown? Seen here Alan is barefoot, as is the Rochdale Lib Dem wont even today, as the Rochdale Alternative Paper’s 1975 “playmate of the Century” or something like that.
Rowen – Deputy head of a secondary school in Bradford (Yorkshire Martyrs) as well as leader of Rochdale Council
Born in Rochdale, Rowen went to the Bishop Henshaw RC Memorial High School (became St Cuthbert’s RC High School in 1989 when Rochdale scrapped its three-tier system) on Shaw Road in Rochdale. From the University of Nottingham, he graduated with a BSc in Chemistry and Geology in 1976. From 1977-80, he taught Science at Kimberley School in Nottinghamshire. From 1980-6, he was Head of Chemistry at St Albans RC High School, Warren Lane in Oldham (now closed), then Head of Science at Our Ladys RC High School from 1986-90. From 1990-2005, he was Deputy Headteacher of Yorkshire Martyrs Catholic College on Westgate Hill Street in Tong, West Yorkshire.
Disgraced RE teacher found with 200 indecent images of children can continue teaching after Michael Gove gives go-ahead
Bettley, who joined St Mary’s in September 2001 from Yorkshire Martyrs Catholic School in Bradford, West Yorkshire,
By the time police seized his computer in December last year, he had viewed 143 images, assessed to be on the lowest “level one” on the scale for seriousness.
He downloaded another 46 more serious “level three” images, including scenes of child abuse, but they had not been viewed.
Instead of being taken to court, however, he was given the option of accepting a police caution.
Rowen – From 1990-2005, he was Deputy Headteacher of Yorkshire Martyrs Catholic College on Westgate Hill Street in Tong, West Yorkshire.
He was deputy headteacher when protected Bettley was at Martyrs Catholic School…
Bettley, who joined St Mary’s in September 2001 from Yorkshire Martyrs Catholic School
Yorkshire Martyrs School linked to Kenya school via Rowen
A school in Kenya has finished building two new classrooms thanks to a £7,000 donation from its sister school in Bradford.
Yorkshire Martyrs Catholic College may be closing in 2010 but its name will live on in Marigat, Kenya, where the new school block has been dedicated to the Bradford school.
“The money that we raised was initially going to be used to bring a group of young Kenyans to Bradford.
“But as the visa situation could not be sorted out, we decided to put the money to good use by helping build the school block.”
The partnership was originally set up by former Yorkshire Martyrs deputy head teacher Paul Rowen, now MP for Rochdale, who visited the site with Mr Bishop in the summer
Paul Rowen WBro David Action who is also inevitably a big wheel in the local Rotary Club as well as one of the Rochdale Chapters of the hell’s Angels Freemasons – hence the strange handshake. I believe he is Mr Big in beds. Meanwhile a Mr Mason is Mr Big in used cars. Both are long time associates of Paul Rowen for his charidee activity – mainly to do with orphanages in East Africa.
The Rochdale Greenland School and Orphanage appeal is a UK registered Charity established in Rochdale, Lancashire in June 2001.
It was established by Mr Rafiq Ahmed Arien and his family after a visit to Kampala, Uganda when he saw the conditions of poverty that many orphans and victims of AIDS had to live in.
Mr Rafiq Arien and his family are former Ugandan refugees who on settling in Rochdale in the 1970’s have established a successful retail and wholesale electrical business.
Together with his friends Councillor Paul Rowen and Mr Terry Mason they established The Greenland School and Orphanage Appeal which is raising money to build an orphanage and school in Uganda.
In August 2002 a group including Charity Chair Councillor Paul Rowen, Organiser Rafiq Arien and Mr Terry Mason travelled to Kampala for the Foundation Stone Lying Ceremony.
Paul is in Keen-ya. Apparently sunning himself whilst doing charidee work at children’s homes.
Does anyone picture portly Paul Rowen in a pith helmet whilst on a colonial verandah, G&T in hand? The Happy Valley of Kenya has a reputation for “fun and games”. Were table tennis paddles packed in Paul’s trunk? Or will Rochdale’s current MP be too busy having slap up meals at various african Rotary clubs?
Will he be planning a trip to the bush? Is he popping over to Uganda to conduct some business in his second paid job working for a property company called Corinya?
So how do young Rochdale people become Parliamentary interns for Paul Rowen. Unlike Hazard County, surely this is not a “job for the boys”?
“I’ve been very lucky over the last few months to have had a number of young people from Rochdale working as interns in both my London office and in Rochdale. These have included Natassa Malik whose father is a good friend of Sir Cyril Smith
Paul Rowen MP – member of the Beveridge Group as are John Hemming and Mike Hancock
The Ugandan Corinya does have a charidee element (a laudable children’s home- following Cyril Smith’s example of supporting the charity Rochdale Childer with its Moorland Home?).
Savile, Hancock, Bonner Pink. Emery Wallis, connected friends , also Ted Heath, and more. add Peter Ball into this mix, you have a flaming disgusting group
Did you know ex MP Hancock worked for childrens TV at BBC, on same corridor as Savile. Hancock and Savile also friends, and Bonner Pink!
5 June 1990
Leaders of some of the 19 councils that are fighting a poll-tax capping order line up outside the High Court. (l-r) Richard Farnell (Rochdale), Marie Rimmer (St Helens), Peter Ballard (Basildon), Joan Twelves (Lambeth), Sir Jack Layden (Rotherham), Margaret Hodge (Islington), Jim Dobbin (Rochdale, deputy), and Mike Goodman (Hammersmith).
Cassandra Cogno @CassandraCogno
Cf Margaret Hodge who needs to name the officers who “misled” her into alleging children were paid & complaining to Press Commission
Any Knowl View cover-up may also involve 1990s NW Labour personnel
…the Manchester Evening News carried a story claiming that the disgraced, deceased Liberal MP Cyril blackmailed an unnamed council leader into covering up Smith’s actions by threatening to reveal an incident of abuse by the council leader against a child in a public toilet.
Over a month ago, in early September when the issue of child abuse at Knowl View home in Rochdale started to hit the news again because of its inclusion in the public inquiry into child sexual abuse, whistleblowers contacted the SKWAWKBOX with a number of allegations.
The first was that Greater Manchester Police (GMP) had stated that it would be making a ‘full disclosure’ of all evidence it had gathered in its investigation of events at Knowl View.
The second was that part of that disclosure would be that the leader of Rochdale Council had information about the abuse – and had kept it quiet. The person – a councillor – who knew he had received this information had, allegedly, subsequently been removed from all positions of responsibility by the council leader.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Rochdale Council’s leader’s office and asked whether these claims were true. We were told – via a press officer – that the council leader absolutely denied them and would not be discussing them further.
The councillor said to have direct knowledge of events declined to take our calls. GMP was asked whether the information would be included in its disclosure – but its reply was essentially non-responsive:
Op Clifton report will be heard in full at the IICSA hearing in London in mid-October. You would need to ask IICSA as it is their inquiry.
IICSA had not yet heard the evidence, so this was a dead end. In the absence of options to corroborate the claims, there was no option but to shelve them and wait for developments.
Those developments have now begun.
Last week, evidence was given to the inquiry that matched the reports given to the SKWAWKBOX more than a month earlier. The comments began on the first day that evidence was taken, as the transcript of the session shows:
Despite its closure over two decades ago, Knowl View has continued to resurface, provoking concerns that investigations into what happened were deliberately concealed. It has been suggested that the local politicians were party to this and to suppressing allegations about Smith, regardless of their political allegiances. There has been rumour and speculation about some form of deal/pact between local political parties not to make allegations about Cyril Smith. We will call some of those politicians in the final week of the hearings so they can be asked more about that.
ITV news correspondent Matt O’Donoghue tweeted about it three days later, as claims were detailed:
He then asked council leader Richard Farnell:
A day later, the inquiry spoke to the then-head (in 1992) of social services about events at the time. That witness alleged not merely silence but interference:
Q: You made a distinction in your statement about inappropriate interference in departmental matters between Smith, on the one hand, and the then-leader of the council, Richard Farnell.
Q. The distinction you made was that Cyril Smith interfered on a sort of granular level, in the cases of individuals, whereas Farnell was perhaps more to the sort of generalised approach to his interference.
Yesterday, the Manchester Evening News carried a story claiming that the disgraced, deceased Liberal MP Cyril blackmailed an unnamed council leader into covering up Smith’s actions by threatening to reveal an incident of abuse by the council leader against a child in a public toilet.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Rochdale Council’s press office again today with the following:
In early September I called you about allegations that Richard Farnell knew about abuse at Knowl View and did not act. You told me he had absolutely denied it.
In view of the evidence coming out at the public inquiry about a council leader covering up information and indeed being involved in at least one act of abuse, do you wish to revise that position?
The response this time was different:
The Head of Communications subsequently emailed to add:
And just to reiterate.. the leader maintains his denial
Labour’s HQ did not cover itself in glory in its handling of this blog’s enquiry, either. We wrote to the party at the same time as to the council and the police, detailing the information received, including the name of a councillor who alleged that Mr Farnell had told him privately that he had ignored a report on the abuse at Knowl View when the institution was still open.
The same councillor also claimed that he had informed Labour’s North-West regional office about that conversation – but that the report had been ‘buried’.
We asked Labour HQ the following questions:
- Did ________ make such a report?
- If so, what if any action did Labour take?
- _________ used to be Rochdale Labour Group Whip, but says that Richard Farnell has since removed him from all positions. Why?
Labour HQ failed to respond until the SKWAWKBOX sent a follow-up email advising that we were about to publish an article on the matter and telling the party to provide any comments quickly if they wished to have the information included in the article.
We received a statement in reply that contained answers to none of the questions asked over a month ago:
The Labour Party is fully co-operating with the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
The allegations against Richard Farnell were put into the public domain by the IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) session transcripts and subsequently by the mainstream media.
They remain allegations only and the SKWAWKBOX does not claim that they are accurate, but their existence is indisputably of overwhelming public interest. There is no evidence so far to indicate that Mr Farnell is the unnamed council leader in the Manchester Evening News article and his continuing denial of cover-up allegations should of course be recognised by all, unless and until the allegations are proven in a court of law, should a case ensue.
However, should the police decide they merit investigation, officers should also be talking to people who worked in Labour’s north-west office at the time, because any cover-up is alleged to have extended there as well.
Boys in special school were at risk of Aids
THEY were boys aged eight to 16 with learning difficulties, and what they needed from Knowl View special school in Rochdale was care. What they got, according to Phil Shepherd, a council HIV-prevention officer, was the risk of Aids.
Mr Shepherd was horrified by the situation he discovered when he made a sex-education day visit to the residential school in March 1991. In a report he made within a week to the town’s director of education, Mrs Diana Cavanagh, he set out a picture grimmer than anything Dickens imagined for Dotheboys Hall.
“Reputedly five of the junior boys have been or are involved in ‘cottaging’ in and around public toilets. Men as far away as Sheffield are believed to be aware of this activity and travel to Rochdale to take part.
Mr Shepherd was a member of the Rochdale Health Authority Aids unit. “We are committed to preventing the spread of HIV,” he wrote. “The boys in this school look to us to be increasingly at risk.”
He added: “Most people, not least parents of children at the school, would be horrified were these facts to be made known.”
They were not. Mrs Cavanagh assured him the problem was being addressed “through concerted professional action”. She asked him to circulate his report no further, and “not to undertake any independent action”.
The Aids team was not asked back in. Mr Shepherd’s report has remained unpublicised, and it is only now that parents of the boys in Knowl View are becoming aware of the risk their children ran and what they may have gone through.
The full story of Knowl View, which opened in 1969 and closed nine months ago, has never been made public, but is clearly visible in confidential council documents seen by the Independent on Sunday.
In essence, boys as young as eight were put at risk of Aids through prostitution and liaisons with known sex offenders, after a disintegration of control over several years.
Concerns about the sexual behaviour of the boys were first passed to the council as far back as 1988 by Dr Alison Frazer, a child psychiatrist at Rochdale’s Birch Hill Hospital, yet it was three years later that Mr Shepherd issued his dire warning about the Aids dangers facing them, and another year before the council received recommendations on restoring management control after its own inquiry.
That report, by Valerie Mellor, a consultant clinical psychologist, came in February 1992. In it, Mrs Mellor said there was no doubt up to a quarter of the pupils at the 48-place school had been involved in serious sexual incidents and the activity had continued “over a very long period of time …. It is very difficult to believe that this behaviour had not come to the attention of at least some members of staff.”
Although her report suggested that sexual activity was at an end, five months later a pupil and a former pupil, both 14, were cautioned by police for soliciting in the town’s Smith Street lavatories.
At the height of the affair, a known sex offender gained overnight access to the school and allegedly plied pupils with cider and cannabis cigarettes before sexually assaulting them. Official details are scant.
In her 1992 report Valerie Mellor said only: “In September 1990, an incident occurred involving an adult male intruder at the school. That intruder had sexual contact with one or more of the boys on school premises.”
But one boy says he was raped and that at least one other boy in his house was forced to have oral sex with the intruder. He claims their cries for help went unanswered because the member of staff on “sleeping-in” duty was not there. The offender returned the next night, but that time was beaten off.
The alleged rape victim says he was never interviewed by the police. The teenager was awarded a legal-aid certificate last week to sue for damages, and on Friday Mark Walker, of solicitors Molesworths, who are representing him, applied to the council for the release of files. Mr Walker said there were serious questions about the way Rochdale handled the incident. “We are concerned that not enough was done afterwards to help our client.”
John Pierce, Rochdale council’s chief executive, said police had reviewed the case again recently and found nothing requiring further action.
He added: “The police have also stated quite clearly that they do not believe there is any substance in allegations of a ‘cover-up’ relating to incidents at the school and that all the issues involved were discussed and investigated at the time by a number of agencies and the necessary action taken then.”
The authority was already taking action before Mr Shepherd’s report, Mr Pierce said.
“Both social services and the police had become involved in dealing with issues related to inappropriate sexual activities involving Knowl View pupils and adults unconnected with the school,” he said. “Arrangements appropriate to each boy’s circumstances were made in relation to counselling and health advice.”
Mr Pierce said that staff had received sex-education training and advice on how to warn pupils of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases.
But one care worker at the school said: “I would never work for this authority again. It is appalling that those people who were in charge still have jurisdiction over so many children’s lives.”
Martin Digan, 36, another former care worker, said: “I believe there has been a cover-up. Only a public inquiry can place responsibility where it should be placed.”
Parents are also dissatisfied. One 41-year-old mother believes the deterioration in her son’s behaviour was a direct result of the sexual activity he became involved in at the lavatories in Rochdale’s Smith Street – and of a vicious school environment in which, she says, on one occasion he was hit with a cricket bat.
Another mother, whose son is now in jail for causing grievous bodily harm, was informed of what happened at the school only six weeks ago by one of the other parents.
“I should have been told,” she said. “They’re pretty disgusting, aren’t they? All of the reviews I’ve sat at and none of this ever came out.”
Neither were staff and parents alone in their surprise. Bill Hopkins, who became a lay member of the governing body in late 1990, looked shocked when told last week about the prostitution. “I don’t know anything about that. I don’t know if any of the other governors did. As far as I understood it, the problem was [the known sex offender],” he said.
“It seems to me that everybody at the time was contemplating their navel,” one adviser said.
“All the reports were on how the system failed and there was only a one- line reference in all the documents to the fact that the children might need some help. Rochdale let those kids down.”
CHRIS (not his real name) can only now bring himself to admit what happened to him at Knowl View School. The memory leaves him furious.
He claims that when he was 14 he was raped by a known sex offender who gained access to the school one night and plied him with alcohol and cannabis.
He says: “I was hysterical. I couldn’t do anything. It was physical force. He threw me against the wall, threw me around the room.
“I was shocked and scared. He threatened to kill me if I told anybody.” Afterwards, he says, he lay in his bed terrified, hearing other pupils screaming.
Nobody came to help. He says the duty member of staff was not in his room.
Though Chris was later questioned by the school, he says he was never interviewed by the police.
Eventually he decided that nothing was being done – and began lashing out. He threw another pupil through a window. Once he was locked up in his bedroom for a week.
“I got to the stage where I was going to run off and find help elsewhere,” he said.
Then he decided that he had to learn to live with the experience. But that is difficult.
“If I saw [the intruder] now I’d kill him. I’ve been close to suicide and I’m extremely lucky I haven’t gone to prison.
“There were six in my dorm and two are in prison. One is serving ten- and-a half years for rape. The other shot a boy in the eye and blinded him.”
Chris was sent to Knowl View at the age of 12 because he had been disruptive at his previous school, but he believes he was too bright for the special school. He describes the lessons there as “a joke”.
He has no job and feels Knowl View deprived him of a chance in life.
“Before I went there I had a life. I don’t have one now. Sometimes I want to go to the Black Box [council offices] and just blow the whole lot of them,” he says.
“I was in care. That place was supposed to be full of qualified people to look after me and I don’t think they did. So they deserve to pay, don’t they?”
Cyril Smith MP for Rochdale 1972 to 1992. Died in 2010 age 82.
He was unmarried had a brother Norman. Interestingly, Cyril Smith’s brother Norman was on Rochdale Council and was Rochdale Mayor 1986 – 1987 when Richard Farnell was Head of Council.
Harold Shipman had a practice at Todmorden and Hyde 1977 (31 years old) to 1998 (52 years old), during a period when Shipman was murdering one person a week, and where Jimmy Savile cycled passed regularly and Cyril Smith lived nearby (30 min drive – Emma Street, Rochdale) . It is known that Savile undertook necrophilia and was associated with Rochdale NHS Trust. The Janet Smith review – the Harold Shipman Inquiry, I am told, did not look into these matters. Savile died October 2011 age 85. Cyril Smith died Sept 2010 aged 82 and Harold Shipman found hanged in prison 2004 age 58. Harold Shipman ‘s wife Primrose was a child minder.
Cyril Smith MP behind
(1) the 1962 Cambridge House, hostel for boys – by November 1965 social worker had reported Cyril Smith for abusing boys
(2) and the 1969 Knowl View school in Rochdale. Cyril Smith was Rochdale Mayor 1966 – 1967.
Knowl View School was labelled a “boy brothel”
In 1989 it’s alleged that Rochdale social workers were replaced by Londoners to sort out matters.
This would have been under Flowers and Farnell as they left council in 1992.
1994 Rochdale Council closed Knowl View School (Farnell and Flowers had left Rochdale Council in 1992) but nobody was ever prosecuted over abuse said to have taken place there.
Knowl View School had the 1991 Shepard Report and 1992 Mellor Report and closed 1994;
Rev Paul Flowers’ links to Cyril Smith
The Rev Paul Flowers had close political links to Sir Cyril Smith, the late Liberal Democrat MP accused of several child abuse offences
Smith was originally a Labour councillor in Rochdale and later a Liberal then Liberal Democrat MP for the town from 1972 to 1992. His brother, Norman Smith, who was mayor of Rochdale in 1986-87, said that Mr Flowers sat on council committees with Sir Cyril.
“Cyril was more involved with [Paul Flowers] than me. Cyril was a councillor and MP at the time,” he said.
“They knew each other by being on the council, and of course he was a prominent minister. They were on committees together.”
Mr Smith said Mr Flowers was the minister of Champness Hall in Drake Street, in the centre of Rochdale.
A spokesman for Rochdale Borough Council confirmed that Mr Flowers was a councillor from 1988 to 1992. The minister served as vice-chairman of the social services committee in 1990/91, and sat on the committee in the previous and following years.
During that time, 16 children in the town were taken into care because it was alleged that they had been abused and forced into Satanic rituals.
‘Crystal Methodist’: Former Co-op bank boss in ‘drugs and rent boys binge’
The Methodist minister appears to have been caught in a another scandal after his public fall from grace in November 2013
Paul Flowers, the disgraced former Co-operative bank boss, has been allegedly caught taking Class A drugs with rent boys during a hot-tub party in his home.
The Methodist minister, 65, spent 28 days in “life-changing” rehab after admitting drugs charges when he became embroiled in a previous scandal.
Paul Flowers (ex Co-Op bank) was Vice Chair Rochdale Social Services 1988-92 conducted a review of alleged satanic csa at Knowl View School and it’s this report that seems not to have been made public, although requests have been made to Rochdale Council and Simon Danczuk MP for it to be public .
Its alleged that both Savile and Cyril Smith attended the satanic csa rituals.
“Currently nine alleged victims are suing Rochdale council over abuse they say they suffered while at the school.
Several also claim they reported that abuse to GMP both in the early 1990s and later during the Operation Cleopatra investigation into child abuse across the region in the late 1990s, but that nothing was done.
Manchester police chief Michael Todd found dead at bottom of cliff
12 Mar 2008
A police spokesman said officers were unaware of any scandal in Mr Todd’s private life.
But Max Clifford, the publicist, said: “Someone phoned me a week ago and they had a Liverpool or Manchester accent. All they said was that they had a story about a top copper and that it was a big scandal and that they wanted to get a lot of money. I didn’t hear from them again and there was probably no connection at all with this.”
He played host to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh when they visited Manchester.
Mr Todd began his career with Essex police in 1976, serving as a uniformed officer and a detective and was appointed Assistant Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire in 1995 before joining the Metropolitan Police.
He rose to the rank of assistant commissioner and supervised the policing of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.
He became Manchester’s £122,000-a-year police chief in 2002
Todd was appointed an Assistant Chief Constable in Nottinghamshire in 1995, initially managing support services and then operational policing. In 1998, he was appointed as the Deputy Assistant Commissioner back in the Metropolitan Police. In 2000, following his promotion to Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police, he was responsible for Territorial Policing, covering all 32 London Boroughs. In 2002, he was selected as Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police from 2002 and in 2006 he became a vice-president of ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers), both posts he held until his death.
In 2012, it was announced that Police officials are examining new claims of financial malpractice against Todd. Greater Manchester’s new Police Commissioner appealed for information about Michael Todd, former chief constable of the force. The claims centre on Todd’s role in drawing up unique contracts that allowed some staff to get enormous payoffs when they left the force.
After his death, Manchester Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Angie Robinson was reported to have been having an affair with Todd. It was later revealed that he was conducting numerous affairs with up to 38 different women
Todd’s numerous affairs over the past decade were an “open secret” among senior officers at Greater Manchester Police, his former employers Metropolitan Police and senior figures at Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
However, they turned a blind eye to his “reputation” – despite him suffering occasional depressive episodes, the risk of him being blackmailed and one of his mistresses being caught up in a police corruption scandal.
Investigation of CIA extraordinary rendition flights
December 2012 – reported 48 survivors of Knowl View school
LEANNE McKIE, MIKE TODD, JIMMY SAVILE, CYRIL SMITH, DON MACKINTOSH
Paul Flowers to be quizzed over csa at Farnell controlled Rochdale Council Nov 2013:
“alarm bells were being rung constantly by health professionals 1988-1992 when Flowers” was head of social services and Farnell head of Rochdale Council.
But “no one would ever believe the story that ‘lovable Cyril’ would be abusing those he pretended to help – a man who could present himself as a saviour of the needy, while at the same time abusing them.”
Paul Flowers vice chair social services Rochdale 1988-92 under Farnell -Knowl View satanic csa – 2011 “resigned” from Bradford council due to inappropriate material
“Former Rochdale council leader Colin Lambert – who previously passed detectives a dossier on alleged abuse ” this was reported in MEN (Manchester Evening News) 8 & 11 & 17 June 2014
Jim Dobbin MP was highly critical of the selection of Richard Farnell as Head of Rochdale Council and mentioned this on BBC TV and reported in the media here (June 2014)
Richard Farnell on Jim Dobbin. June 2014. http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/news-headlines/87556/council-leader-accuses-mp-of-smearing-him …
Richard Farnell on Jim Dobbin. October 2014.
Jim Dobbin MP dies of alcohol poisoning/ excess on an official Council of Europe visit to Poland* with Lord John Prescott and Sir Alan Meale MP.
Jim Dobbin MP was very critical of Farnell and Simon Danczuk. After Knowl View survivors were sent to his office, by Simon Danczuk’s office, the family banned the Danczuks from his funeral.
Councillor Richard Farnell, Samaritans branch Director Janet Murphy and Simon Danczuk celebrate 50 years of the Samaritans
Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh (R) laughs with Simon Danczuk MP for Rochdale
Rochdale MP Danczuk is no stranger to scandal, having been suspended from the Labour Party in December 2015 over allegations of sending sexually explicit text messages to a 17-year-old girl.
Now, Vaz – Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee – is hitting headlines for allegedly paying male prostitutes for sex and discussing the possibility of paying for cocaine.
Soon after the Vaz scandal erupted, disgraced member of parliament Simon Danczuk leapt to defend his colleague, tweeting his support for Vaz.
“I’ve known Keith since I entered parliament. He makes a positive contribution to politics. He serves his constituents very well.
Farnell now in his 50’s, has never married nor been seen with female company. Nor male company for that matter. Very reminiscent of Cyril Smith. Ooh errr !
The Insider: Liverpool council’s press office.
HAVE standards slipped at Liverpool council’s press office since spinmeister general Matt Finnegan was suspended? According to official council documents seen by the Insider, the reading matter of choice at the press office has taken a distinctly comic turn. For on an order form for national and local daily newspapers there is one very special request – for a copy of the Beano (young lads magazine) for senior press officer Richard Farnell. Could it be that one time parliamentary candidate Mr Farnell has a bit of Dennis the Menace about him or is he simply reliving his childhood days
Vote of No Confidence in Rochdale Council leader Richard Farnell
Cllr Richard Farnell is overseeing austerity cuts to the most needy in our Borough at the same time as defending a 34% rise in Councillors allowances and a 51% rise for himself.
Rochdale council leader brands political rival a ‘turd’ on Twitter
Richard Farnell was involved in a Twitter spat over apparent illegal parking
Rochdale council’s leader has branded a political rival a ‘turd’ on Twitter – for highlighting his apparent illegal parking.
Richard Farnell was snapped over the weekend on Drake Street in the centre of Rochdale, next to his car.
It was parked on double yellow lines and on ‘no loading at any time’ lines, clearly marked on the kerb.
When his apparent breach was pointed out to him online, Coun Farnell claimed he had a blue badge displayed out of shot.
However, although blue badges entitle holders to park on double yellow lines for up to three hours, they don’t if there are ‘no loading’ markings on the kerb.
When called out on it on Twitter, Coun Farnell responded with fury, calling his critics ‘plonkers’.
He replied to Lib Dem political rival David Hennigan, who had said he was ‘banged to rights’, with the tweet: “Who says so? You? No obstruction just a nasty turd trying to cause trouble.”
Parking illegally on a double yellow line carries a £70 fixed penalty notice.
In response to the spat the Liberal Democrats – who are campaigning hard in Rochdale ahead of the local elections – have called for Coun Farnell to be fined.
“Councillor Richard Farnell is a trained journalist and communications professional.
My Sweet Landlord @MySweetLandlord
Richard Farnell claims he knew nothing about Knowl View
#CSA until 2014. As a journalist in 1995, did he miss this?
He has worked on newspapers throughout the North West and worked in local government public relations for several years. He recently retired from Liverpool City Council where he ran their Press Office and was an advisor to the directly-elected Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson.
“Richard was elected a Labour Councillor for Balderstone and Kirkholt ward in 2012. It is his second stint on the Council after a 20-year break. Richard was previously Leader of the Council in the 1980s. He was elected Leader of the Labour Group and Leader of the Council in May 2014 and is responsible for the policy direction of the council. He is also responsible for regeneration and special projects and sits on the Board of the Rochdale Development Agency and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing.” 
Farnell was the former head of Liverpool City Council’s press office. In early 2013 it was reported that “Richard Farnell has made it to 26 out of 29 meetings at Rochdale council since last May – despite being unable to work as office manager for Liverpool’s elected mayor Joe Anderson since last summer.” 
- Director, Manchester Growth Company
First broadcast in September 2013, this is the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary that explored the horrific scale of Cyril Smith‘s sexual abuse of children and the how the police, crown prosecution service and MI5 not only knew of his activities but actively protected him from being prosecuted for his crimes.
Secret service infiltrated paedophile group to ‘blackmail establishment’
BRITISH security services infiltrated and funded the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange in a covert operation to identify and possibly blackmail establishment figures, a Home Office whistleblower alleges.
The former civil servant has told detectives investigating the activities of paedophiles in national politics that the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch was orchestrating the child-sex lobbying group in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The whistleblower, who has spoken exclusively to the Sunday Express, says he was also warned off asking why such a notorious group was being handed government money.
It emerged late last year that PIE was twice gave amounts of £35,000 in Home Office funding between 1977 and 1980, the £70,000 total equivalent to over £400,000 in today’s money.
Those details surfaced only after the whistleblower highlighted his concerns to campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson and his revelations have triggered an ongoing Home Office inquiry into why the cash was given to PIE which was abolished in 1985 after a number of prosecutions.
Until now, speculation about the grant has centred on Clifford Hindley, the late Home Office manager who approved the payments. However, the whistleblower told the Sunday Express he thought higher and more sinister powers were at play.
He has given a formal statement to that effect to detectives from Operation Fernbridge, which is looking into allegations of historic sex abuse at the Elm Guest House in south-west London
PIE, now considered one of the most notorious groups of the era, had gained respectability in political circles. Its members are said to have included establishment figures, and disgraced Liberal MP Cyril Smith was a friend of founder member Peter Righton.
In 1981, Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens used Parliamentary privilege to name Sir Peter Hayman, the deputy director of MI6, as a member of PIE and an active paedophile. In 1983 Mr Dickens gave the Home Office a dossier of what he claimed was evidence of a paedophile network of “big, big names, people in positions of power, influence and responsibility”. The Home Office says the dossier no longer exists.
Whistleblower Mr X, whose identity we have agreed to protect, became a very senior figure in local government before retiring a few years ago. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was a full-time consultant in the Home Office’s Voluntary Services Unit run by Clifford Hindley.
In 1979 Mr X was asked to examine a funding renewal application for PIE, but he became concerned because the organisation’s goal of seeking to abolish the age of consent “conflicted” with the child protection policies of the Department of Health and Social Security and asked for a meeting with Mr Hindley, his immediate boss.
PIE was being funded at the request of Special Branch which found it politically useful to identify people who were paedophiles. This led me not to pursue my objections. At that time, questioning anything to do with Special Branch, especially within the Home Office, was a ‘no-no’.
“I was under the clear belief that I was being instructed to back off and that his reference to Special Branch was expected to make me to do so.
He asked for a file the Home Office kept on PIE, but his request was refused. However, he was certain then Tory Home Office Minister Tim Raison, who died in 2011, must have signed the 1980 funding application.
Mr X has given a formal written statement to the inquiry set up last year into former Home Office links with PIE but has refused to meet the inquiry in person because he fears “repercussions” under the Official Secrets Act.
Special Branch was an integral part of the intelligence service gathering intelligence on spies and political threats to the state.
Dame Alun Roberts @ciabaudo
So I’ll ask once again: What did
@metpoliceuk do with the boxes of documents from Mary Moss?
Tim Raison – he was helped and promoted by alleged satanist William Whitelaw, becoming his PPS in the Northern Ireland Office in 1972.
Edward Heath made him a junior education minister under Margaret Thatcher the following year
He edited Crossbow, the Bow Group magazine
In 1967 he was also elected to Richmond upon Thames council
Raison was a minister under Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher, gaining a reputation as the keeper of the party’s conscience on such issues as immigration, refugees, child benefit and social policy.
…thanks to the support of Willie Whitelaw, Raison served as Minister of State at the Home Office from 1979, and as Overseas Aid Minister from 1983
Mr Whitelaw’s team at the Home Office – Tim Raison and Leon Brittan
…member of the Inner London Education Authority
Timothy Raison was sworn of the Privy Council in 1982 and knighted in 1991.
From 1960 to 1966 he headed the Youth Service Development Council
Raison told me that if he had political heroes they would be Rab Butler and Sir Robert Peel
He shared a flat in Tufton Street, near the House of Commons, with fellow Old Etonians Douglas Hurd and Philip Ziegler.
John Major was pps to Tim Raison 1981-83 at the Home Office
Clockmaker Keith Harding played vital role in Britain’s biggest child sex ring
MUSIC box collector and clock maker Keith Harding, whose staff restored antiques for royalty, played a vital role in Britain’s biggest child sex ring.
Leon Brittan and Cyril Smith were both regular visitors to the shop.
The former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe would also drop by along with key members of the vile Paedophile Information Exchange Steven Adrian Smith and Tom O’Carroll.
Corbyn Conundrum @Jigsawman2014
,,,all at it together do you think? Northern MPs like Cyril and Brittan together with Savile and the Scarborough mafia?
Michael Evans @Mikey2017Evans
The IICSA say what is the link with Cyril, Keith Harding and MI5 Secret Services, why are they involved? ANSWER…
Establishment paedophiles Jimmy Savile and Keith Harding
The Freemason Lodge Mercurius 7507 Keith Harding, close friend of Cyril Smith was Grand Master of “The Spies Lodge”
Harding met MPs Cyril Smith and Leon Brittan in the 1980s when he ran a north London antiques store.
Thirty-five years ago he appeared alongside paedophile television presenter Jimmy Savile in a Christmas special of Jim’ll Fix It.
The lodge boasts of its Government Communications Headquarters heritage on its website.
One of his staff, who worked for him between 1980 and 1987, said: “Leon Brittan and Cyril Smith were both regular visitors to the shop.
Usually they would come in via the side door, other times they would ring the bell at the front entrance and come in.
“They’d straight away ask for Keith who would be coming down the stairs.
“Then they would then either go up to his office for a private meeting or they’d go out for several hours.”
The former worker added: “The shop had many high profile customers, including the Royals
Jeremy Thorpe too was an occasional visitor.”
A British antiques expert who restored items for royalty was a child abuser involved in a notorious paedophile campaign group, the BBC can reveal.
Keith Harding was active in the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), according to documents seen by the BBC.
A former chairman of the British Horological Institute, he appeared alongside Jimmy Savile in a Christmas edition of the BBC’s Jim’ll Fix It.
Harding, who died in June, had been convicted of sex offences in the 1950s.
A man who appeared on the Christmas 1980 episode as a boy has told BBC News the feature was “set up” by the production team, who approached the family and asked for a letter to Savile to be written.
Lord Caccia (right), the Lord Prior of St John invests Mr Cyril Smith
The Duke of Gloucester wearing the mantle of the Grand Prior of the Order at an investiture
Keith Harding had members of the royal family as clients and appeared with Jimmy Savile on Jim’ll Fix it
Savile with the Duke of Gloucester
Savile’s brother canvassed for Cyril – he even stood for election-Battersea with Honor Blackman as celeb attraction. And of course Honor was around Hebden Bridge – another Savile haunt – all palsy walsy.
Smith, who died in 2010 aged 82, reportedly bonded with Savile after meeting him at a medieval banquet forty years ago.
In his autobiography Big Cyril, the MP whom police have now acknowledged abused young boys, recounts meeting the DJ.
He said: “I once attended a medieval banquet at Worsley, Lancashire, along with Jimmy Savile. When I joined in the community singing, Jimmy blurted out: ‘You’ve got a nice voice there, Cyril, you must come on my programme!’ That’s how I ended up singing ‘She’s a Lassie from Lancashire’ on Clunk Click.”
Jeremy Thorpe, Cyril Smith and Davis Steel
Paedophile Sir Clement Freud was nominated for his knighthood by David Steel – who also put Cyril Smith up for the same gong
- Ex-Lib Dem leader Lord Steel nominated Clement Freud for a knighthood
- Freud, a disgraced MP and former TV and radio star, became a Sir in 1987
- Also revealed Lord Steel backed child abuser Cyril Smith for knighthood
- Cabinet Office confirmed who proposed Freud to be a Sir after an appea
Cyril Smith admitted spanking and touching boys, but I let him stay, says Lord Steel
Lord Steel, the former Liberal leader, said he confronted Cyril Smith over allegations that he spanked and touched teenager
Victim Michael Roberts, 40, today bravely puts aside his right to anonymity to tell for the first time how he was only six when he was sexually abused by 29-stone politician Smith.
And shockingly he has revealed his devil-worshipping stepdad Michael Horgan organised the horrendous ordeal. Horgan made a deal with the man who went on to be knighted after years as a respected Member of Parliament.
Michael claims Smith, who was also a close pal of Jimmy Savile, told him he had been “a naughty boy” before forcing him to take part in a perverted spanking and groping ritual.
Now studying for a counselling qualification, Michael fought back tears as he recalled: “I was frightened of him because of his size. But by then I was getting abused by so many people I’d just got used to it.”
Horgan, who has also used the name Shaun O’Donnell, became known as the High Priest of Satan.
He was jailed for 10 years and placed on the sex offenders’ register after he was found guilty of six sex abuse charges in 1992. Smith died in 2010 aged 82.
Horgan organised a series of satanic-themed orgies for like-minded paedos.
In one of them he raped little Michael and an even younger female child before watching on as others did the same.
He organised outdoor “parties” for these activities on Saddleworth Moor, where child killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley had buried their victims.
Youngsters from two to 13 were drugged, tortured and sexually abused during the satanic “ceremonies”.
The shock revelation over the satanist and MP’s friendship raises questions over any role Smith and Jimmy Savile may have played in Horgan’s paedo ring.
Horgan was also pals with Raymond Hewlett, the child rapist questioned in relation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Michael added: “Michael Horgan used to take me out to ‘visit’ people regularly. It didn’t seem that far away. It didn’t take us long to get there. We went there in a taxi. Just me and Michael Horgan.
“I can’t remember where it was, just that it was a long row of houses and that it wasn’t far from where we lived in Rochdale.”
Michael says the visit had obviously been set up beforehand as local MP Smith greeted him by his first name when he walked in the room.
He added: “We went into the house. He was a big fat guy. They (Horgan and Cyril) were talking between themselves. It looked like it had been pre-planned because he (Cyril) said, ‘Hello, Michael.’
According to police records, prosecutors were given evidence about him in 1970, 1998 and 1999 but charges were never brought.
He was finally exposed as a paedophile in November last year. The Crown Prosecution Service admitted he should have been charged.
One of his victims claimed he was sexually abused in a room in the Houses Parliament as MPs walked past.
High priest of evil set free to prey on children
14 March 1999
The News of the World
Paul McMullan and Amanda Revell Walton
Satan sex monster abused his own kids..then let sick disciples do the same
A sick ‘high priest’ of Satan who raped his own kids, then handed them to devil worshipers for more abuse will this week be FREED to prey on other tots.
Michael Horgan hung his naked daughter and stepson on HOOKS and tied them to a CROSS so his ‘disciples’ could torture and film them.
Yet he only served half his ten-year jail sentence before being transferred to a bail hostel last May.
And on Tuesday the monster- whose youngest victim was only TWO -will be back on the streets unsupervised.
Vile Horgan, 50-who has changed his name to Shaun O’Donnell-would normally have his identity cloaked by the same laws which guarantee his victims anonymity.
But today his daughter Philomena, now 21, and stepson Michael, 26, have taken the amazingly brave decision to reveal themselves.
For they want the world to see the evil that is their father- and every parent to be warned that he is back on the loose. Philomena and Michael even found the courage to tell of the torment they suffered at Horgan’s hands as they grew up in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.
‘Nick Clegg ignored letters from lawyers’ over Cyril Smith claims
Nick Clegg refuses to hold inquiry into Cyril Smith child abuse allegations
The Liberal Democrat leader says allegations of child abuse spanning decades are a matter for police as he denies having any knowledge of rumours surrounding the former Rochdale MP
The man who knew nothing: As Cyril Smith furore grows, MPs and child campaigners scorn Clegg for claiming that he was too young to know about his abuse
- Nick Clegg says he was too young to know about Smith’s vile acts
- Allegations published in magazines in 1979 and aired publicly in 1987
- Smith’s actions known in Westminster and his constituency, critics say
- Vince Cable said there could have been a cover-up on a ‘very large scale’
Cyril Smith and asbestsos
How the world’s biggest asbestos factory tried to stop campaigners exposing the killer dust’s dangers
Turner and Newall spied on journalists and activists before trying to accuse the of being communists in the 1980s
…executives at Rochdale-based asbestos giant Turner and Newall monitored people they considered to be “subversive” and kept a dossier on their activities at the height of the debate about the mineral’s safety in the 1980s.
They also enlisted the help of disgraced Rochdale MP Cyril Smith in a clandestine but ultimately unsuccessful bid to discredit the makers of an award-winning documentary that told how asbestos workers were dying from cancer.
The boy who grew up to be Blair’s favourite priest
By FATHER MICHAEL SEED
On January 1, 1988, Cardinal Hume asked me if I would become his secretary for ecumenical affairs.
I accepted with joy and gratitude and began an eventful and extremely happy 11-year association with him, which I still cherish.
I was even more delighted when his successor, Cardinal Cormac Murphy- O’Connor, asked me, in spring 2000, if I would continue in that role during his tenure as archbishop – a ministry I still hold to this day.
Sir Jimmy Savile causes anguish at the Athenaeum
The late Cardinal Basil Hume is being held responsible for the election of Sir Jimmy Savile as a member of the Athenaeum
Savile had to wait only two months before being admitted to the club in 1984.
Why did the CPS abandon investigation into Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor?
As the full scale of the British Establishment’s cover-up of child sex abuse becomes apparent, Alistair McBay argues it is time for the Crown Prosecution Service to make public its reasons for dropping the investigation into Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor 12 years ago.
Tony Blair’s chaplain Fr Michael Seed describes being sexually abused by one of its teachers David Higgins.
Tony Blair’s priest fixed papal knighthoods for cash: Senior Catholic took up to £50k donations for honours
Andrew’s secret Palace talks with controversial priest, Fr Seed, who converted Tony Blair and the Duchess of Kent to Catholicism
Below is a timeline for Sir Cyril Smith MBE which we hope will provide a quick and easy reference resource. It is by no means definitive and if anyone has information that can help make it better then please post it as a comment. Even if we don’t add them to the timeline, such comments will be useful to anyone researching Cyril Smith in the future.
Timelines like this can be useful but they can also have their drawbacks. As a positive this one clearly highlights no less than 12 occasions when the police became aware, to a greater or lesser degree, of Cyril Smith’s offending or his unhealthy and illegal interest in young boys, These 12 entries are in bold. In my view, this timeline also clearly demonstrates a cover-up and complicity by the authorities which allowed Cyril Smith to continue to offend.
As a negative, this timeline does not adequately illustrate the fact that Cyril Smith was continuously offending throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. As I understand it, Greater Manchester Police are still investigating Cyril Smith’s sexual offending against young boys and hopefully a report will be published in due course which will better illustrate the appalling scale of Cyril Smith’s offending. However, until such a report is published this is the best that can be done.
Knowl View School Timeline
1969 Knowl View Residential School for opened for children with learning difficulties.
1988 Concerns about the sexual behaviour of the boys were first passed to the council by Dr Alison Frazer, a child psychiatrist at Rochdale’s Birch Hill Hospital 
1990 Sept An incident occurred involving an adult male intruder at the school. That intruder had sexual contact with one or more of the boys on school premises. Mellor report 
1991 Rev Flowers, disgraced ex boss of Coop was vice-chair of the social services committee in 1991 
1991 Mar Phil Shepherd visited Knowl View. 1 week later Phil Shepherd had written the report and submitted it to Mrs Diana Cavanagh, Director of Education. 
1991 Apr 11 Investigation by police and social services requested by DOE 
1991 May 31 Social Services say No case to answer!! 
1992 Feb Report by Valerie Mellor, a consultant clinical psychologist. In it, Mrs Mellor said there was no doubt up to a quarter of the pupils at the 48-place school had been involved in serious sexual incidents and the activity had continued “over a very long period of time …. It is very difficult to believe that this behaviour had not come to the attention of at least some members of staff.”  Her report suggested that sexual activity was at an end.
1992 c.Jul A pupil and a former pupil, both 14, were cautioned by police for soliciting in the town’s Smith Street lavatories 
1995 Sep 10 Independent  John Pierce, Rochdale council’s chief executive, said police had reviewed the case again recently and found nothing requiring further action. He added: “The police have also stated quite clearly that they do not believe there is any substance in allegations of a ‘cover-up’ relating to incidents at the school and that all the issues involved were discussed and investigated at the time by a number of agencies and the necessary action taken then.”
2013 Sep 11 Exaro Nick Fielding  Knowl View files. Council warned of scandal
2014 Apr 12 Telegraph Melanie Hall  and Liberal party allegedly ‘covered up’ MP Cyril Smith’s four decades of abusing children
2014 April Police began a fresh investigation into allegations of abuse and a possible cover-up at Knowl View. A separate independent inquiry is investigating whether Rochdale Council could have done more. 
2014 Jun 3 BBC Richard Bilton  Knowl View: Report into abuse at Rochdale school ‘suppressed’
2014 Jun 3 FOI Request  for Shepherd Report on Knowl View
2014 Jul 7 ITV Council suspends review for police investigation 
2014 Sep 17 Shepherd Report  heavily redacted released in reply to Jun 3 2014 request.
Cyril Smith Timeline
28th June 1928- Cyril Smith is born in Rochdale Lancashire, the illegitimate son of Eva Smith who worked in service to a local cotton mill-owning family. He has a sister, Eunice and a brother Norman. They never learn who their father is.
1945- Cyril Smith joins the Liberal Party
1951- Cyril Smith leaves the Liberal Party and joins Labour
1952- Cyril Smith was elected a Labour Party councillor for the Falinge ward of Rochdale. As a councillor, Cyril became governor of twenty-nine local schools and would often visit them.
1956- Cyril Smith buys St Mary’s Gate newsagent and tobacconist. (It was demolished in 1959 as part of a re-development scheme).
Late 1950s-Smith’s newsagent on St Mary’s Gate was put under police surveillance as there had been concerns that boys were entering from the rear of the property. (Source Mike Smith, CID).
Late 50s- Cyril Smith gets a criminal record and is bound over to keep the peace for twelve months after breaching public lottery laws and trying to sell a lottery ticket to the chief constable of Rochdale.
1960- Cyril Smith sets up and manages Rochdale’s first bingo hall with Fred Ratcliffe, the Rochdale football club chairman.
1961- The first victim of Smith that the police know of was groomed in December 1961 after a visit to a school carol service. The boy was fourteen years old and Cyril pays for singing lessons for him and soon sexually abuses him.
1962- Cyril Smith helps to set up Cambridge House, an independently run hostel for homeless boys funded by Rotary club and Rochdale council .
1964- Ronald Neal is physically attacked by Smith at Cambridge House, his head smashed against a wall and two teeth knocked out. He is taken to hospital for stitches and but when he explained what had happened to him was advised to say he had fallen over.
1965 – Lyndon Price, Head of Social Services, Rochdale (1965-1971) goes to the Chief Constable Patrick Ross concerning allegations of improper behaviour by Cyril Smith at Cambridge House.Nothing was done at this time but soon after Cambridge House closed.
1966- Cyril Smith was appointed the Mayor of Rochdale and visits every single school in Rochdale that year. He claimed that children love meeting him – ‘It’s like a fairy story for them’.
June 1966- Cyril Smith is appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) ‘For services to youth’ in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
1967- Cyril Smith MBE resigns the Labour whip and becomes an independent until 1970.
1969- Cyril Smith helps to found Knowl View Special School. He will be a governor of the school with his own access all areas pass key for the next 34 years.