Chorley CitizenFormer East Lancs mayor backs call for Sir Cyril Smith child abuse inquiry (From Chorley Citizen)

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Former East Lancs mayor backs call for Sir Cyril Smith child abuse inquiry

Chorley Citizen: Sir Cyril Smith Sir Cyril Smith

A FORMER mayor who says he was beaten by Sir Cyril Smith is backing calls for a full public inquiry into allegations of child abuse.

Rossendale councillor Alan Neal said he lost two front teeth and needed stitches to a head wound after the politician ‘backhanded’ him when he was aged 11 at a children's hostel in the 1960s.

He said he was assaulted for refusing to eat a potted meat sandwich.

Coun Neal’s experiences, and those of others attending Cambridge House hostel and Knowl View residential home, have been recounted in a new book co-written by the current Rochdale Labour MP and former Blackburn with Darwen councillor Simon Danczuk, who grew up in Hapton.

In his book, Smile for the Camera: The double life of Cyril Smith, Mr Danczuk has questioned why three separate police investigations into abuse allegations concerning Smith failed to result in any charges being brought by prosecutors, amid claims of MI5 and Special Branch involvement in past inquiries.

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Coun Neal, now 60, is involved in a civil action against Rochdale Council and Greater Manchester Police which is also questioning the role of the security services over the repeated failure to prosecute 29-stone Smith.

The revelations have rocked the Lib Dem party and piled pressure on leader Nick Clegg to carry out an internal investigation.

Mr Danczuk said: "The reason for writing the book is that it’s a story people needed to be told. Cyril Smith wrote his own history over a number of years which showed him in a positive light, but the reality is that he was, in many ways, a monster who went out of his way to abuse vulnerable boys.

"What we know is that Cyril Smith was a prolific abuser. The police were watching from the 1950s and the first recorded victim was in 1961.

“He then went on to abuse in every decade until his death."

Coun Alan Neal, whose full name is Ronald Alan Neal, had been placed in Cambridge House, a hostel for 'working boys' in Rochdale, in 1964.

He was part of a large family and his mother is said to have struggled to cope. The youngster had earned the nickname Runaway Ron because of his repeated attempts to flee.

Smith, who was a well-known figure at Cambridge House and had helped to establish the hostel, was called in to ‘help’.

Coun Neal said: “I was taken from a foster home in Outwood because I ran away. And people who ran away got taken to Cambridge House.

“I don’t eat meat and I was presented with a potted meat sandwich, which is basically congealed meat, and I had a reaction.

“It made me sick and because of the fact it was forced down my throat, it made me even more sick.

“This led to Smith hitting me - bear in mind I was only around four feet five inches and five stone - and ended up with me receiving stitches in a head wound and losing two teeth.

“Two years later I was fostered in Whitworth and the people I was living with had a copy of the local newspaper, with a picture of Smith and I said to them that this was the guy who left me needing stitches in the back of my head and losing two teeth.

“They said that they didn’t disbelieve me but that he was a very powerful man and we should just forget about it.”

Mr Danczuk, who was campaign manager for former Rossendale and Darwen MP Janet Anderson, added: "We know from speaking to Coun Neal that he was abused at Cambridge House. It was serious physical abuse against a minor. It is behaviour that is wholly unsuitable now and also then.

“That is no way to treat children. I can’t help but think it will have had a lasting impression on Alan.

“His knighthood needs to be removed posthumously so that institution like the press stop calling him Sir Cyril Smith. Secondly, I think we need a full public inquiry where witnesses are called and asked to give evidence under oath.

“It should not just be looking at Cyril Smith, but looking more widely at the cover-up and who hid it. There’s far too much denial from the Liberal Party at this moment in time.”

Mr Neal, a baker who has twice been Mayor of Whitworth and Rossendale's Millennium mayor, spoke out in November 2012 when Mr Danczuk named Smith as a serial child abuser in the House of Commons and is still adamant justice needs to be served for Smith’s victims.

He said: “What I am doing it for is justice as a number of his victims who are not here any longer. No-one has ever held their hands up and said ‘we are sorry, we got it wrong’. That would ease an awful lot of pain for people.

“It makes people extremely bitter because for the best part of 50 years everyone has told victims that they were telling lies whenever they said anything about this.

“Instead of protecting vulnerable people they took the word of someone who should have been charged over this - he was just a violent thug and a bully after all.”

Det Insp Caroline Ward, from Greater Manchester Police, has said that seven people have come forward to allege that they were abused by 11 individuals at Knowl View, where Smith was governors’ chairman.

An independent review into the running of Knowl View over the same period is also set to report back to Rochdale Council next month.

The Crown Prosecution Service has also previously acknowledged that Smith should have been charged with criminal offences when allegations first surfaced 40 years ago.

Lancashire Police presented the findings of an indecent assaults investigation relating to Smith and Cambridge House, covering Coun Neal’s time there, but it was dismissed by Norman Skelhorn, then Director of Public Prosecutions in 1970.

Comments (5)

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7:24am Wed 16 Apr 14

BuckoTheMoose says...

I can't help feeling this is going to turn into another Jimmy Saville farce, a trial by media in which the defence does not get a say and the verdict is in from the start.

"No-one has ever held their hands up and said ‘we are sorry, we got it wrong’." - Maybe that just means they didn't get it wrong. Writing a book about a man does not make him guilty, only proving it in court does.

The book seems to have come out at a time where a great number of pubic figures are being accused of old crimes.

Hold your enquiry if it's necessary, but don't hod a witch hunt.
I can't help feeling this is going to turn into another Jimmy Saville farce, a trial by media in which the defence does not get a say and the verdict is in from the start. "No-one has ever held their hands up and said ‘we are sorry, we got it wrong’." - Maybe that just means they didn't get it wrong. Writing a book about a man does not make him guilty, only proving it in court does. The book seems to have come out at a time where a great number of pubic figures are being accused of old crimes. Hold your enquiry if it's necessary, but don't hod a witch hunt. BuckoTheMoose
  • Score: -1

9:18am Wed 16 Apr 14

woolywords says...

Hands up, those who think that, a lot of these 'historical' abuse cases are just being brought, so as to get some compensation? You've not heard the full facts but already make the assumption that, the accuser must be lying.
It is when we do this, that an abuser can say to a victim, 'even if you tell, they won't believe you', and more often than not, we don't believe it.
When other victims read that a case is, 'dismissed by Norman Skelhorn, then Director of Public Prosecutions', what they don't know is that, what he actually meant was, there isn't enough evidence here, to ensure a conviction.
Recently, it was mooted, that everyone involved in abuse cases, of any kind, should be protected by complete anonymity but I would counter that with, how many other instances have come to light, after someone else gained the courage to speak out, when some person is openly accused? It's like me saying, I hate cats, which I do, and then cats go missing round here. You can bet your bottom dollar that everyone will be watching me, if I'm near a cat.
You may have not been caught with your hand on a cookie but if you are seen to be loitering in the area where cookies are, behaving in an odd manner, you can expect accusations. And, let's face it, even after someone is found not guilty, they are never going to be trusted, in a similar circumstance, ever again.
Hands up, those who think that, a lot of these 'historical' abuse cases are just being brought, so as to get some compensation? You've not heard the full facts but already make the assumption that, the accuser must be lying. It is when we do this, that an abuser can say to a victim, 'even if you tell, they won't believe you', and more often than not, we don't believe it. When other victims read that a case is, 'dismissed by Norman Skelhorn, then Director of Public Prosecutions', what they don't know is that, what he actually meant was, there isn't enough evidence here, to ensure a conviction. Recently, it was mooted, that everyone involved in abuse cases, of any kind, should be protected by complete anonymity but I would counter that with, how many other instances have come to light, after someone else gained the courage to speak out, when some person is openly accused? It's like me saying, I hate cats, which I do, and then cats go missing round here. You can bet your bottom dollar that everyone will be watching me, if I'm near a cat. You may have not been caught with your hand on a cookie but if you are seen to be loitering in the area where cookies are, behaving in an odd manner, you can expect accusations. And, let's face it, even after someone is found not guilty, they are never going to be trusted, in a similar circumstance, ever again. woolywords
  • Score: -4

9:36am Wed 16 Apr 14

Excluded again says...

We forget how much child sex abuse was just covered up and victims pressured into keeping quiet until very recently.

These historical cases of abuse are emerging now because they were covered up at the time. Thankfully, we have moved on and people who sexually abuse young boys and girls are at risk because now victims are listened to and not silenced.

Do we want to go back to the old ways where people like Saville, Smith and the Rochdale grooming gang could get away with it because the victims were not listened to?
We forget how much child sex abuse was just covered up and victims pressured into keeping quiet until very recently. These historical cases of abuse are emerging now because they were covered up at the time. Thankfully, we have moved on and people who sexually abuse young boys and girls are at risk because now victims are listened to and not silenced. Do we want to go back to the old ways where people like Saville, Smith and the Rochdale grooming gang could get away with it because the victims were not listened to? Excluded again
  • Score: 8

8:37pm Wed 16 Apr 14

ghost of sceptic says...

Another massive waste of the public purse by by people making allegations against deceased people who are not here to defend themselves guilty or not. For me it stinks! All aboard the gravy train.
Another massive waste of the public purse by by people making allegations against deceased people who are not here to defend themselves guilty or not. For me it stinks! All aboard the gravy train. ghost of sceptic
  • Score: -3

10:27pm Wed 16 Apr 14

noddy57 says...

l don,t think child abuse should be swept under the carpet, it needs to be brought to the fore and kids of all ages should be praised for speaking out even if its decades later,,forget compensation claims, that is secondary what is important is the abused being heard and their abusers being brought to book these poor children have had their lives ruined and that is putting it lightly so why even if the abuser has passed away should they not be exposed? If there is evidence of child sex abuse no- matter what the costs may be lets get it out in the public domain,no one has the right to wreck young children,s lives and get away with it,
l don,t think child abuse should be swept under the carpet, it needs to be brought to the fore and kids of all ages should be praised for speaking out even if its decades later,,forget compensation claims, that is secondary what is important is the abused being heard and their abusers being brought to book these poor children have had their lives ruined and that is putting it lightly so why even if the abuser has passed away should they not be exposed? If there is evidence of child sex abuse no- matter what the costs may be lets get it out in the public domain,no one has the right to wreck young children,s lives and get away with it, noddy57
  • Score: 3

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