Danesford Community Centre, West Road, Congleton.
(Building now known as Woodlands)
In 1993, Cheshire police launched a full-scale investigation into Danesford Community Home, run by the Methodist charity, National Children’s Homes (NCH), where Hudson and Smith had been employed as full-time care workers. The police traced and interviewed former pupils. In the process, they collected a number of allegations of sexual abuse. Hudson and Smith were subsequently arrested.
In Cambridgeshire, Keith Laverack worked with numerous colleagues, four of whom are now also suspected of abusing children. Dennis Grain worked in Doncaster for the same group of private schools as Terence Hoskins who went on to become headteacher of St Aiden’s Community Home in Widnes, where he liked to thrash naked boys with a cane, which he then pushed into their backsides, while his housemaster, Colin Dick, indecently assaulted those who caught his eye. Dennis Grain had previously attacked boys in Danesford Children’s Home in Congleton, opening the door to three others, John Clarke, Joseph Smith and Brian Hudson, who set about the boys with relish. Dennis Grain, in the meantime, went off to work at Eton, where he became a housemaster. The web is almost endless.
JURY TOLD OF ALLEGED ABUSE
JURORS were told this week how a former housemaster at a Congleton children’s home indecently assaulted a teenage pupil over an 18-month period.
The allegations were made by an ex-pupil of the former Danesford children’s home at the trial at Knutsford Crown Court of 73-year-old William Charlesworth.
Charlesworth, from Rochester in Kent, denies seven charges of indecent assault against three 12 and 13-year-old boys at Danesford between 1973 and 1975.
Tom Teague, prosecuting, said the offences did not come to light until three years ago when police were making inquiries as part of a general inquiry Charlesworth was not thought to be part of.
He said the defendant befriended the youngsters while they were at Danesford, and continued the offences against them when he moved to Booths Town childrens home near Leigh and a drug dependency unit at Edenfield, Bury.
Mr Teague said Charlesworth targeted particularly vulnerable boys for ”grooming” for sexual abuse.
They were known as teacher’s pet, and one still carried the scars of a crude tattoo spelling the word ”poof,” inflicted on his arm by fellow pupils.
The pupil in question, who is now 37 and living in London, claimed boys at Danesford were bullied by staff and fellow pupils, as well as being hit across the head by staff and picked up by their ears.
Bullying by pupils included punching and hitting, he said, crushing them until they passed out and stripping one boy and smearing shoe polish on his penis.
He said Charlesworth befriended him in the home, and over an 18-month period indecently assaulted him in the dormitory, a kitchen, and in a car on trips out.
”I looked up to him as a father figure, and he was kind to me,” he told the jury.
”I got extra privileges like being able to smoke in his presence, and he took me out in the car.
”I didn’t complain at the time because I guess I liked the attention, and he was always friendly.”
In cross-examination the former pupil denied he had broken a 20-year silence over the abuse because he stood to receive compensation.
He made a statement to the police in the summer of 1997 after seeing a TV documentary about child abuse.
The trial continues.