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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale Investigation Report

Overview of process and evidence obtained by the Inquiry

1. Definition of Scope for the Case Study

An inquiry into allegations of the sexual abuse and exploitation of children residing at or attending Cambridge House Boys’ Hostel, Knowl View School and other institutions where their placement was arranged or provided by Rochdale Borough Council.

Scope of investigation

  1. 1. The Inquiry will investigate:
    1. 1.1. whether boys who resided at or attended Cambridge House Boys’ Hostel and/or Knowl View School were the subject of sexual abuse, including by former Liberal Party MP, Cyril Smith;
    2. 1.2. the extent to which children who resided at Knowl View School were subject to sexual exploitation outside the school premises;
    3. 1.3. whether, during the same period, children residing at or attending other institutions (where their placement was arranged or provided by Rochdale Council) were also subject to sexual abuse;
    4. 1.4. the extent to which Rochdale Council, law enforcement agencies, prosecuting authorities, the security and/or intelligence agencies, and/ or other public authorities were aware of allegations of sexual abuse concerning children who resided at Cambridge House or Knowl View and failed to take appropriate steps in response to it;
    5. 1.5. whether any public authority hindered or prevented the effective investigation of such abuse, including whether there was inappropriate interference in law enforcement investigations and/or prosecutorial decisions in relation to the abuse.
  2. 2. Where a sufficient evidential basis exists, the Inquiry will make findings on:
    1. 2.1. the nature and extent of the sexual abuse which took place at Cambridge House, Knowl View and at other institutions children were attending or residing at during the relevant period;
    2. 2.2. the nature and extent of the failings of Rochdale Council, law enforcement agencies, prosecuting authorities, the security and/or intelligence agencies, and/or other public authorities or statutory agencies to protect children from sexual abuse;
    3. 2.3. the extent to which children who were sexually abused may have had special educational needs and/or any other form of special need or vulnerability, and whether that may have made them more vulnerable to sexual abuse;
    4. 2.4. the adequacy of support and reparations offered to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse who were abused while residing at or attending Cambridge House and Knowl View School.
  3. 3. In light of the investigations set out above, the Inquiry will publish a report setting out its findings, lessons learned, and recommendations to improve child protection and safeguarding in England and Wales

2. Counsel to this investigation:

  • Brian Altman QC
  • Clair Dobbin
  • Alasdair Henderson

3. Core Participants and legal representatives

Complainant Core Participants:

Counsel Laura Hoyano
Solicitor Richard Scorer (Slater and Gordon)

Institutional Core Participants:

Rochdale Borough Council
Counsel Steven Ford QC
Solicitor Chris Webb-Jenkins and Chaitali Desai (Weightmans LLP)
Greater Manchester Police
Counsel Anne Studd QC
Solicitor Sian Williams (Greater Manchester Police)
Lancashire Police
Counsel Alan Payne
Solicitor Nitin Borde (Lancashire Legal Department)
Crown Prosecution Service
Counsel Edward Brown QC and Fraser Coxhill
Solicitor Alasdair Tidball (Government Legal Department)
Secretary of State for Education
Counsel Cathryn McGahey QC
Solicitor William Barclay (Government Legal Department)

4. Evidence received by the Inquiry

Organisations to which requests for documentation were sent
Rochdale Borough Council
Greater Manchester Police
Lancashire Police
Crown Prosecution Service
Security Services
Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee
The Cabinet Office
Hempsons (Solicitors to the Garnham Review)
Lancashire County Council

5. Disclosure of documents

Total number of pages disclosed


6. Public hearings including preliminary hearings

Preliminary hearings
1 16 March 2016
2 27 July 2016
3 10 May 2017
4 20 September 2017
Substantive public hearings
Days 1 – 5 9 – 13 October 2017
Days 6 – 10 16 – 20 October 2017
Days 11 – 13 23 – 25 October 2017
Day 14 27 October 2017

7. List of witnesses

Surname Forename Title Called/Read Hearing Day
A1     Called 2
A2     Called 3
A4     Called 3
A5     Called 6
A6     Read 12
A7     Called 6
A8     Read 7
A9     Called 7
Andrews Brett Mr Read 7
Bartlett David Mr Called 4
Bottomley Martin Mr Called  11
Bradshaw Allan  Mr Called
Cantrell   CS Read 12
Cavanagh Diana Ms Called 10, 11
Colley Raymond Mr Read 12
Davey  Ian Mr Called 8
Dearnley  Ashley  Mr Read 13
Digan  Martin  Mr Called 6
Dobie  Elizabeth  Ms Published 10
Doyle  Deborah  Mr Read 13
Eaton  Duncan  Mr Called 6
Surname Forenames  Title Called/Read Hearing Day  
Farnell Richard  Mr Called  12
Fraser Alison Dr Called 7
Galpin Janet Ms Read 4
Green Martyn Mr Read  4
Henderson   DS Read 12
Hill Vince Mr Read 12
Hodge Selwyn Dr Called  9
Hopper Gail Mrs Called 2, 4 and 13
Houghton   CS Read 12
Jacques  Timothy  ACC Called 3
Joinson  Peter John  Mr Called 13
Jones  Sarah Ms Called 5
Kershaw  Eileen Ms  Read 4
Lawley  William Mr Published 10
Lynne  Liz Ms Read 13
Marsh  Peter Mr Called 12
McGill  Gregor Mr Called 3
McKillop Donagh Mr Published 10
Mellor  Valerie Ms Called 12
Morrissey  Tony Mr Published 10
Pierce  John Mr Published 10
Phillips  Eleanor Ms Called 12
Price  Lyndon Mr Read 2
Roberts  Bill David Mr Read 12
Rowen  Paul Mr Called 9
Scarborough Christine Ms Called 7
Seed  Michael Mr Read 4
Shipp David Mr Published 10
Simpson  Marilyn Ms Published 10
Shepherd  Phil Mr Called 11
Tuck  Michael Mr Published 10
Waller  Andrew DI Published 12
Weeks  Janet Ms Called 7
Woodward  Helen Ms Published 10

8. Restriction Orders

On 15 August 2016, the Chair issued a Restriction Order under s.19(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005, granting general anonymity to all Core Participants who allege that they are the victim and survivor of sexual offences (referred to as “Complainant CPs”).[35] The Order prohibited (i) the disclosure or publication of any information that identifies, names or gives the address of a Complainant CP who is a Core Participant; and (ii) the disclosure or publication of any still or moving image of a Complainant CP. The Order meant that any Complainant CP within this investigation was granted anonymity, unless they did not wish to remain anonymous.

On 24 October 2017, the Chair issued a Restriction order under s.19(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005[36], prohibiting the disclosure or publication of the name of any individual whose identity has been redacted and/or ciphered by the Inquiry in connection with its investigation into Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale and referred to during the course of the evidence. This includes, but is not limited to, the identities of individuals ciphered within the documentation or referred to in the transcripts published in the following ways:

a. On the ‘hearings’ and ‘documents’ pages of the Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale section of the Inquiry’s website.

b. In any report of the Inquiry published in connection with this investigation, and any documents published with it.

9. Broadcasting

The Chair directed that the proceedings would be broadcast, as has occurred in respect of public hearings in other investigations. For anonymous witnesses, all that was ‘live streamed’ was the audio sound of their voice.

10. Redactions and ciphering

The material obtained for the investigation was redacted and, where appropriate, ciphers applied, in accordance with the Inquiry’s Protocol on the Redaction of Documents.[37] This meant that (in accordance with Annex A of the Protocol), absent specific consent to the contrary, the identities of complainants, victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and other children were redacted; and if the Inquiry considered that their identity appeared to be sufficiently relevant to the investigation a cipher was applied. Pursuant to the Protocol, the identities of individuals convicted of child sexual abuse (including those who have accepted a police caution for offences related to child sexual abuse) were not generally redacted unless the naming of the individual would risk the identification of their victim in which case a cipher would be applied.

The Protocol also addresses the position in respect of individuals accused, but not convicted, of child sexual or other physical abuse against a child, and provides that their identities should be redacted and a cipher applied. However, where the allegations against an individual are so widely known that redaction would serve no meaningful purpose (for example, where the individual’s name has been published in the regulated media in connection with allegations of abuse), the Protocol provides that the Inquiry may decide not to redact their identity. Finally, the Protocol recognises that while the Inquiry will not distinguish as a matter of course between individuals who are known or believed to be deceased and those who are, or are believed to be, alive, the Inquiry may take the fact that an individual is deceased into account when considering whether or not to apply redactions in a particular instance. The Protocol anticipates that it may be necessary for Core Participants to be aware of the identity of individuals whose identity has been redacted and in respect of whom a cipher has been applied, if the same is relevant to their interest in the Case Study. Therefore, the Inquiry varied the Restriction Order and circulated to certain Core Participants a key to some of the ciphers.

11. Warning letters

Rule 13 of the Inquiry Rules 2006 provides:

“(1) The chairman may send a warning letter to any person –

a. he considers may be, or who has been, subject to criticism in the inquiry proceedings; or

b. about whom criticism may be inferred from evidence that has been given during the inquiry proceedings; or

c. who may be subject to criticism in the report, or any interim report.

(2) The recipient of a warning letter may disclose it to his recognised legal Representative.

(3) The inquiry panel must not include any explicit or significant criticism of a person in the report, or in any interim report, unless –

a. the chairman has sent that person a warning letter; and

b. the person has been given a reasonable opportunity to respond to the warning letter.”

In accordance with rule 13, warning letters were sent as appropriate to those who were covered by the provisions of rule 13, and the Chair and Panel considered the responses to those letters before finalising the report.

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