Shotley Park Children’s Home, Durham
North East MPs demand inquiry into historic child sex abuse cases
Jun 18, 2014 18:59
By Jonathan Walker
North East MPs are backing calls for a national inquiry into the extend of child sex abuse in the 70s, 80s and 90s
MPs from across the North East are backing calls for a national inquiry into historic cases of child sex abuse.
They are asking Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to set up “a full, properly-resourced investigation into the failure of the Police to follow the evidence in a number of historical cases of child sexual abuse”.
MPs backing the call include Gateshead MP Ian Mearns and South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.
Newcastle MP Catherine McKinnell said she was moved to back the campaign following “horrific” cases of child abuse in the North East.
Two former social workers were given lengthy jail sentences in April.
John Leslie Duncan, 61, from Gateshead, and Kevin Brown, 58, who was already in jail, were convicted of the abuse they committed against young boys in their care.
The charges related to incidents that took place throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
Duncan’s crimes were committed as he worked at Shotley Park Childrens’ Home in Durham and at the Feversham residential school in Walbottle, Newcastle, both of which have since closed.
Brown’s crimes took place at Feversham school.
Demands for a wide-ranging inquiry into the extent of sexual abuse in this country follow claims that cases were covered up in the past – because those involved had connections with powerful figures at Westminster.
One Labour MP stunned Commons colleagues in 2012 when he claimed that a child abuse network connected to a paedophile had once reached all the way into Parliament and 10 Downing Street.
Tom Watson, best known for his campaign against phone hacking, told the Commons that evidence used to convict a paedophile in a case in 1992 “contains clear intelligence of a widespread paedophile ring.”
He said: “One of its members boasts of his links to a senior aide of a former Prime Minister, who says he could smuggle indecent images of children from abroad.
“The leads were not followed up. But if the file still exists I want to ensure that the Metropolitan Police secure the evidence, re-examine it and investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and Number 10.”
Separate allegations have been made about Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith, who died in 2010. The Crown Prosecution Service has said he should have been prosecuted for abuse of boys in Rochdale in the 1960s.
Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who now represents Sir Cyril’s old Rochdale seat, has written a book alleging the former MP was part of a high-level paedophile ring operating at Westminster in the 1970s.
MPs including Tim Loughton, a former Schools Minister, have written to the Home Secretary demanding an inquiry.
And others have expressed their support.
The letter to Mrs May suggests that key evidence in child abuse cases has been lost. It says a panel must examine “why detailed dossiers – such as the documents submitted to the Home Office by the late Geoffrey Dickens – have disappeared” and why police surveillance videos “said to be of prominent people who have been involved in paedophile rings” have gone missing.
It also says that child pornography videos seized by HM Customs & Excise have been lost or destroyed and “investigations appear repeatedly to have been stalled or abandoned over the last thirty years”.
Other signatories include Green party MP Caroline Lucas.