Letter: Historical sex abuse in Rochdale

Date published: 27 October 2017

Dear Editor,

As a former Rochdalian, I am fully aware of the historical sex abuse conducted by Cyril Smith, Harry Wilde and others in connection with Knowl View school, Buckley Hall Young Offenders Institution and originally Cambridge House.

I lived there from 1976 until 1998 and both my husband and I had acquintance with both Cyril Smith and Harry Wilde.

At the time Rochdale Alternative Press published information about this matter, as did Private Eye. Gossip was rife in Rochdale, and although I had spoken to Cyril Smith about nursery education in Rochdale, I was very dubious about his 'abuse of power'.

My husband had been driving through Rochdale one evening when a man driving a large black car and wearing council regalia had been stopped by police for what had seemed to be a minor traffic infringement. However, what then happened defied belief - the police acted en masse to instruct my husband and other witnesses to go an alternative route home immediately. A stern 'get out of the way' exclamation.

My husband, Barrie South Jones, died three years ago of bowel cancer, very sadly, but my daughter and I have had many conversations about all this and knowing about all the 'mudslinging' between the leader of Rochdale Council, Richard Farnell and his denial of any knowledge of a report into child abuse in Rochdale which he is accused of having seen at the time when he was first leader of Rochdale Council; I wonder if this is again clouding the main issue: child abuse of all kinds in Rochdale. I believe in the truth, and justice for all the victims of child grooming abuse in Rochdale and across the United Kingdom.

Incidentally, whatever happened to the dossier compiled by Geoffrey Dickens, the late MP for Littleborough, which he sent to the Home Office and has apparently been 'lost'?

There is so much more to be uncovered in order to find out how such depravity could have continued for decades, covered up by powerful individuals within local and central government, the police, children's homes (Cyril Smith had ultimate power over Education and Social Services in Rochdale) and the absolute tragedy of its very many victims.

There must be a network of people living and working in Rochdale and London who knew for this to have continued for so long.

The victims must get some justice (those still alive - as some committed suicide over the years) or died of other causes probably due to poverty, abuse and psychiatric illnesses. It is just not fair in a so-called civilised society.


Angela M Jones

The views expressed are those of the author of the letter and not those of Rochdale Online.

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