Rochdale inquiry: paedophile Roderick Hilton camped outside Knowl View School and ‘was part of the furniture’
Date published: 20 October 2017
Convicted paedophile Roderick Hilton was considered ‘part of the furniture’ at Knowl View School, former headteacher Stephen Bradshaw told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).
Mr Bradshaw took over as headteacher after Hilton had sexually assaulted a pupil, and told the Inquiry he was ‘aware’ of the incident when he took up position.
He explained: “I was made aware by the local authority that he'd been charged and actually was serving a prison sentence in there and it was a one-off incident that had happened where the youngsters actually let him in, but that's all I was aware of.
"Obviously, with having two very small children on site and a wife that was very nervous about them being anywhere near, we were keen to know what the issues were. There was very little passed on.
“I think people felt it was resolved because he was serving a prison sentence, but, again, I had no idea when that prison sentence was, when he had been convicted, how long it would be, would he be back in the locality.”
Mr Bradshaw, who was headteacher during the early 1990s, told the inquiry he was not informed that Hilton was previously convicted in 1984 in respect of sexual offences on two other Knowl View children.
Hilton later returned to the school on the same day he was released, the inquiry heard.
The former headteacher continued: “The day he was released he was spotted with his tent on the footpath.
“We were very nervous about this individual and I liaised with the police when he was being released, because obviously he was attracted to the school, and he did come back to the school.
"The police were excellent at the time, but he'd actually sort of pitched his tent just over the fence from Knowl View, and we could see him. I contacted the police straight away. I really wanted to have an enforcement order to keep him away from the school.”
The tent was visible from his child's bedroom, Mr Bradshaw added.
Mr Bradshaw said he felt there was a reluctance to get a restraining order against Hilton.
Mr Bradshaw added: “When I tried to get a restraining order on him, it was - people were very reluctant to do it. Yet I couldn't see - it seemed simplistic for me: he had committed an offence against the school and he was returning back to the scene of his crime. It did seem that he was a part of the furniture, really.”
Staff, who knew Hilton by name, were aware that Hilton had on occasion slept both in the school minibus and buildings, the inquiry heard.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) opened an inquiry into alleged abuse which took place in Rochdale at Cambridge House Hostel and Knowl View residential school, when former MP Cyril Smith was a governor.
The inquiry continues.