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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 March 2007, 15:12 GMT
Abuse scandal dates back 50 years
Rosehill care home (photo courtesy of MEN Syndication)
More than 90 of the claimants attended Rosehill
An abuse scandal which started as one case in a Manchester children's home almost 50 years ago has ended in a record payout to 168 victims.

Detectives launched Operation Cleopatra in April 1997 after receiving more than 48 separate allegations, one dating as far back as 1958.

More than 20 officers, eight detectives and six social workers worked out of a dedicated incident room in Stockport examining more than 350 cases.

By the time the inquiry wound up in 2002 the team had investigated 66 homes and gathered enough evidence to prosecute six men for the systematic abuse of dozens of boys in care.

What they uncovered was the widespread abuse of boys in a handful of homes, some run by Manchester City Council, carried out by a group of individuals in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Allegations were made against staff at Rosehill in Northenden, Broome House in Didsbury and Mobberley Boys School in Knutsford. Ellerslie in Altrincham and Lynwood, Seymour Road Children's Home were also implicated.

Philip Roe
Philip Roe, one of the abusers, was described as evil by police

Victims were aged from five-years-old to teenagers when they were abused in incidents ranging from rape to indecent assault.

Some of the abuse, it transpired, was perpetrated by a man who had managed to rise to the top.

Ronald Hall, a former warden of Broome House, was Assistant Director of Manchester Social Services when he was arrested by detectives in 2001.

He was jailed for 11 years for 21 counts of sexual and physical abuse while his deputy at Broom House, Ian Gray, was given a 14 year sentence for serious sexual offences.

Roe 'evil'

Other men received lesser sentences for abuse, including taking indecent photographs of children, before the final prosecution in May 2004.

The last case saw Philip Roe, from Hornchurch, jailed for 12 and a half years for counts of indecent assault and buggery on children he visited in care while he worked for Manchester's social services department in the 1980s.

He was described as "evil" by detectives who worked on the case.

Broome House Care Home
Some of the abuse was carried out by Ronald Hall at Broome House

But while Roe's conviction brought a satisfactory end to the police operation, there were fears that many more victims were hidden.

Police took more than 922 statements and heard hundreds of allegations during the inquiry, although the men were prosecuted on the evidence of just a handful of victims.

In 2000, solicitors Abney, Garsden, McDonald began urging former residents of five homes in Greater Manchester and Cheshire to join a group action against Manchester City Council.

There were just 15 victims when the High Court at Manchester made a Group Litigation Order in June 2001. By the time of the final hearing in March 2007, that number had risen to 168 - more than half of whom attended Rosehill.

Victims were paid an average of 15,000 each for the abuse they suffered and its lifelong effects, an amount described as "pitiful" by partner Peter Garsden.




SEE ALSO
'Abuse victims' given 2m payout
07 Mar 07 |  Manchester
'Evil' abuse social worker jailed
19 May 04 |  Manchester

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