Tuesday 15 October 2013

St Francis' Home, Shefford. Abuse Records Destroyed.

St Francis Home

MISSING police files relating to an abuse case against a former Catholic boys home have been destroyed.

This has now been admitted after one of the former boys called for an investigation.

Mr Damian Chittock won damages from the Catholic Church in 2003 after being abused at St Francis Boys Home in Shefford in the late 1960s.

After that settlement a police investigation was held and Father John Ryan, the priest then in charge of the home, was arrested and interviewed.

This was the second time Father Ryan had been arrested as he was interviewed in 1997, following earlier complaints of both physical and sexual abuse at the home.These records also went missing. The files are relevant to a ‘class action’ legal case being taken against the church by many other former boys at the home, as Father Ryan is now dead and the statements could have been used in court.
Mr Chittock said: “I find it incredulous that your officers cannot find these files, that not only include witness statements from at least three victims, but also the interview with Father John Ryan and 40 old boys that were interviewed in the original investigation in the 1990s.”

A Bedfordshire police spokesman said: “The officer in the case and an officer who worked on a previous investigation have thoroughly searched the archives to try and locate the paperwork, as have the team in charge of the archive. It cannot be located and the assumption is that the paperwork has been destroyed securely and confidentially. At the time of the complaint being made, there was no requirement to keep paperwork indefinitely of this age where no further police action was required. However there is no formal record of destruction, again in keeping with requirements at the time.

“For all cases, Bedfordshire police now complies with the National Retention Assessment Criteria (NRAC). All records which are accurate, adequate, up to date and necessary for a policing purpose, will be held for a minimum clear period of six years from the date of creation. Beyond that date further retention will be the subject of a review. In addition, information within our possession is now handled in accordance with the Management of Police Information guidance.

“You do have the right to request a review by the Head of Professional Standards if you wish to utilise this avenue. You have 28 days from the date of this letter to make your representations.”

Read more: http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/News/Missing-Shefford-boys-home-abuse-case-files-were-destroyed-20131013180000.htm#ixzz2hnZa317H

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your time and interest