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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale Investigation Report

Roderick Hilton

39. Before leaving the period 1990–92, we ought also to address Roderick Hilton’s reappearance at the school (having been released from prison in 1992).

40. After it became known that Hilton had spent two nights at the school in September 1990, the police took a statement from RO-A14 and a prosecution was commenced. Following his arrest, Hilton was subject to a bail condition that he did not enter the grounds of Knowl View School.[1] Superintendent Marshall attended the Governors’ meeting on 7 November 1990 and it was arranged that a Crime Prevention Officer would visit the school to advise on security arrangements. Hilton appeared before the Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty on 7 December 1990 to the indecent assault of RO-A14.

41. On 22 February 1991, Hilton was placed on probation for two years. However, on 22 August 1991, having committed further offences against children, he was sentenced to two and a half years’ imprisonment and would have been released after he had served half of that period (some 15 months). This corresponds with his being seen camping close to Knowl View in November and December 1992.[2] This activity was almost certainly in breach of his licence requirement that he reside at a particular address. The breach would have been a matter for the Probation Service.[3]

42. As described in Part 3, Mr Bradshaw was concerned from the outset of his time at Knowl View that men other than Hilton were also attempting to access the school. For example, on 14 May 1991, Mr Bradshaw wrote to the ‘Officer in Charge’ at Rochdale police station about an incident that had occurred the previous night when a man had tried to get into the school. Mr Bradshaw referred to “previous occasions” when an intruder had sexually abused one of the children, and the sensitivity of the issue to the school. His concern was that the police had been called at 12.15am but had not arrived until 1.05am (following a second phone call), although he noted that, when they did arrive, both officers were “very helpful and supportive”.[4] 

43. Despite the background, when Hilton was released from prison, he appears to have been a near constant presence at Knowl View. This prompted a great many pleas from Mr Bradshaw that the Council apply for an injunction to prevent him from coming close to the school but, as discussed in Part 3 this never happened.

44. Mr Bradshaw gave evidence that he had liaised with the police as regards Hilton’s release from prison and regarded their response to his pitching a tent by the school as “excellent”.[5] Mr Bradshaw said that he “pestered” the police and considered that they improved their response to the school as time went on; he wanted to normalise a police presence around the school[6] . Mr Digan also described the response of the police to Hilton as “excellent”.[7]

45. Mr Bradshaw’s evidence suggests that the police were responsive to his concerns, and did what they could in the absence of any injunction to move Hilton on. In this regard, at the end of his evidence, Mr Bottomley was asked whether, by his continued presence near the school and by approaching school boys in the town centre, Hilton was committing an offence or offences under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, such as “using words or behaviour … within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby”. Mr Bottomley did think that Hilton might have been arrestable under the Act, but pointed out that he had been arrested for breaching the peace in 1992.[8]

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