Search

Councillors demand ‘secret documents’ are released about former Hornchurch children’s home rife with sexual abuse

PUBLISHED: 17:11 19 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:26 19 October 2017

Former St Leonard's children's home in Hornchurch. Picture: Historic England

Former St Leonard's children's home in Hornchurch. Picture: Historic England

Historic England

Tower Hamlets councillors are calling for a raft of documents relating to sexual abuse at St Leonard’s Children’s Home to be released to the public.

The east London local authority ran the notorious Hornchurch home from 1965 until it closed in 1985.

Last week Paul Setchfield , 64, of Cromer, was jailed for nine years on 11 charges of indecently assaulting a girl and boy, both under 14, at the home in Hornchurch Road, between 1978 and 1981.

In 2001, the home’s superintendent Alan Prescott and a former house parent Bill Starling stood trial for abusing children.

Prescott admitted indecently assaulting four boys at the home between 1970 and 1980 and Starling was found guilty of 19 offences, including two rapes, over a period of 20 years.

“Everything must be open as much as possible,” demanded Tower Hamlets Tory group leader Cllr Peter Golds.

“These are issues from many years ago, but council officers still don’t want anything published.

“The Rahman administration and other administrations have kept a lid on this scandal over the years and have refused to publish reports.”

A Freedom of Information request for a 50-page document about St Leonard’s was refused in 2014, Cllr Golds claims.

Paul Connolly was sent to St Leonard’s by Tower Hamlets when he was eight.

“On my first night I wet the bed, as lots of children in care do, and I was dragged out and put in a bath full of bleach,” he claims.

He also says he was beaten regularly and thrown off a balcony.

Paul received £16,000 in compensation from Tower Hamlets Council, in recognition that it had breached its duty of care.

He is now a core participant in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

A Tower Hamlets spokeswoman said: “The abuse that went on at St Leonard’s home was dreadful and damaging.

“We are unable to release the reports into this historic case, as the information is too detailed and could lead to individuals being identified, even with names redacted.”

“IICSA is also looking at the St Leonard’s children’s home as part of its wider investigation into how victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation were treated, and we are engaging fully with them.”

Related articles

Latest Romford News Stories

Police in Hertfordshire are appealing to members of the public in Havering for help in tracking down a wanted man they believe is in the Romford area.

17:30

A musical variety group that spent more than 50 years performing in hospitals and care homes, still meets up to reminisce about the days of musical festivities and fundraising.

These are the Havering roads to miss next week if you don’t want to risk delays.

15:20

Bob Carlton, a well known theatre director and writer has died.

A touching musical comedy centred around the excitement of a royal wedding during 1940s Britain is making its way to the borough.

Young people will be campaigning to earn a role representing the borough as a member of Youth Parliament.

A former Olympic hurdler will be joining Dancing on Ice champion Ray Quinn at the official opening of the Sapphire Ice and Leisure Centre in two weeks time.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Window and conservatory specialist Ken Rhodes talks about the possibilities for brightening up your home for the new year, and with their home improvement finance deals it’s possible for everyone to make some changes

Lisa and Jennie are cousins who grew up in the borough. Their grandmother, ‘Nanny Fish’ was a huge part of their lives, and while she had dementia and increasing needs, she really benefited from having care in her nephew’s loving home. This experience was the inspiration for Lisa and Jennie to set-up their own home care service.

Breaking News

Yesterday, 10:04

A man’s body has been found outside a block of flats this morning.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now