PoliticsHome | Only the latest five entries on the PhiWire are visible to non-subscribers
- Sign up to see last 24 hours
Dont have an account?Sign up here
Former MP Cyril Smith repeatedly assaulted residents of a Rochdale boys' hostel, police said today.
There was "overwhelming evidence" that Smith abused residents at Cambridge House hostel, but prosecutors failed to take the case to court, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.
A GMP spokesman said eight victims originally came forward in the 1960s, with two more coming forward in 1999 and a further two making claims following recent media coverage.
Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that it was "puzzling" that CPS did not prosecute.
"There's no doubt about it, Cyril Smith abused young boys," he said. "Not just in the 1960s I might add, I've met and spoken with a number of victims who allege that he abused them into the '70s and '80s. Why the CPS didn't prosecute more recently is puzzling."
The CPS admitted last night that it should have prosecuted Smith in 1970. Its move followed fresh allegations against the former MP published by PoliticsHome.com earlier this month, when former residents of Cambridge House went public for the first time with their treatment.
It said accusations from eight men had been passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions in 1970, who decided not to proceed with a prosecution due to concerns over the reliability of their evidence.
Barry Fitton, one of the victims of Smith, told PoliticsHome.com last night that he welcomed the Police and CPS statement but wanted to see whether action would result.
"He's got to be stripped of his knighthood and his MBE. And I want an apology from all those who said I was lying," Mr Fitton said.
Asked if justice was finally being done, Mr Fitton replied: "It's started to happen, but let's just see. I want to see if it all comes out or is just left to simmer again. It's better but I'm still worried that it's not going to all come out."
A solicitor representing one of those alleging abuse today said that "justice has been cheated" by the Director of Public Prosectuions’ failure to prosecute.
Twelve men have accused the late Liberal Democrat MP for Rochdale, who died in 2010, of abusing them at a hostel and a school in the 1960s.
Lawyer Alan Collins said they had been vindicated "40 or 50 years too late".
The Labour leader of Rochdale Council, Colin Lambert, said he had informed police about claims made against Sir Cyril in 1999 and was examining whether the council could have done more to support those claims at the time.
In a statement, Smith’s family said they were "deeply saddened and concerned" about the allegations "made so long after Sir Cyril's death and at a time when he is no longer able to defend himself".
Full access for £22 a month...PoliticsHome PRO Find out more
28/11/2012 on BBC Radio 4 Today
Summaries and transcripts from TV and radio
6 hours ago on Sky News
6 hours ago on BBC News
Today on World at One, BBC Radio 4
4 hours ago