Sunday 8 December 2013

Operation Daybreak

DETECTIVES investigating claims of abuse at former Notts children's homes have made a new arrest – and say the number of alleged victims has increased.
Officers also say the claims now cover alleged incidents at six former council-run homes, instead of five.
The huge investigation, code named Operation Daybreak, is examining allegations of sexual or physical abuse against children in now-closed homes.
The claims stretch from the late 1960s until 2000.
Daybreak covers alleged abuse by staff at Beechwood Community House, Mapperley, Bracken House, which was in Thames Street, Bulwell, Ranskill Gardens, Bestwood, Wood Nook, in Beechdale Road, Beechdale, and Risley Hall, Derbyshire.
A Notts Police spokeswoman confirmed a sixth former home, which used to operate in the city, had now been added to the list. It cannot yet be named for legal reasons.
Notts Police also said yesterday that a man had been arrested in connection with an alleged historical serious sexual offence at Beechwood.
He was detained and questioned last month then released on bail pending further inquiries.
Police say the number of alleged victims is now 64, up by three since September.
Five other people have previously been arrested were all released with no further action.
The update came as a council issued an apology to one of the alleged victims after it emerged his care files had apparently been destroyed in the 1970s.
Michael Summers, 59, says he suffered physical and emotional abuse at Beechwood and was later moved to another home in Nottingham where he claims he was molested.
A social worker then later raped him in a car, he claims, and he also alleges he was physically abused at another Notts home and at Risley Hall.
He had asked both Nottingham City Council and Notts County Council for the release of his files to help his case.
But the records, kept by the county council on behalf of the city, have not been found.
Under current regulations, records must be kept for 100 years but this was not the case when Mr Summers was in care.
Anthony May, corporate director for children, families and cultural services at the county council, said: "Despite an extensive search for Mr Summers' child care files, we have been unable to locate them.
"There is a note on our records from 1978 which says the files have been destroyed.
"The rules regarding retention of files were different then and we believe we had no legal obligation to keep them.
"However, we have found some references to Mr Summers in other general files and have shared these with him.
"That said, it would certainly help us and Mr Summers if we could find his child care files."
He added he had both telephoned and written to Mr Summers to apologise.
"I regret sincerely any distress that we have caused to Mr Summers because we cannot find his files," he added.
Mr Summers waived his legal right to anonymity in July as an alleged victim of a sex offence in an attempt to encourage other potential victims to come forward.
He grew up in The Meadows before going into care and today lives in New York.
He said: "I accept the apology in part – but I still want someone to be held accountable for destroying them.
"I want to know who authorised their destruction."

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