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Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse reveals a catalogue of incidents stretching back 50 years

Mr Barker, of Dronfield, was found dead on his boat in North Wales.
Mr Barker, of Dronfield, was found dead on his boat in North Wales.

The Independent inquiry into Child sexual Abuse opened today at Nottingham Trent Bridge Cricket Ground.

The inquiry was attended by survivors who were told of a catalogue of abuse and incidents stretching back 50 years.

It was an emotional day for victims here to hear the evidence, welcomed by Professor Alexis Jay chairing the inquiry.

An opening statement from Counsel to the investigation was made by Patrick Sadd, who said: “We thank the complainants for their courage and patience.

“This investigation carries a particular bitter resonance in that they were abused by adults specifically tasked with caring for and protecting them.

“The inquiry will hear how far reaching the impact of that breach of trust was at the time.”

Some 343 individuals were involved, 89 taking part in the inquiry.

They heard how repeated warnings were not acted on, victims had nowhere to turn, girls were forced into prostitution, children were simply not believed.

The focus of the first day was Beechwood home in Mapperley, which police had described as being “riddled with abuse” from the late 1960s to the late 1980s.

There are 62 allegations of sexual abuse at Beechwood by staff between 1974-1884.

Children often ran away to escape.

Only a handful of staff had been arrested- 33 residents made complaints about one worker who died before he could be prosecuted.

One girl said she had told about her abuse to staff at her next placement at Skegby Hall, but was told to “p-- off to bed.”

In May 2018 police carried out a Beechwood collusion report to try and identify if there was any collusion between suspects abusing children but there was not enough evidence to support the existence of a paedophile ring.

Childrens’ homes in the Mansfield and Ashfield area were referred to.

In February a member of staff at Skegby Hall was acquitted of seven counts of indecently assaulting a child in the 1950s.

In April 2017 a former member of staff was acquitted on three of five counts against him with the jury unable to reach verdicts on the two remaining charges.

The inquiry continues.