Social Media

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Cyril Smith delayed boy's treatment for burst appendix, child abuse inquiry told

Written by Jack Hardy

An alleged victim of late MP Cyril Smith has described being denied urgent medical attention for a ruptured appendix until the politician had finished "fondling" him.

The man, speaking anonymously, told the national child abuse inquiry that he suffered both physical and sexual abuse when staying at the Cambridge House hostel in Rochdale as a teenager.

He said Smith, who was then a councillor in the town, had a close relationship with some of the managers during his residency in the 1960s, including Edith Saille.

On one occasion, he began suffering from severe abdominal pain and a high temperature - but no doctor turned up despite his request.

He told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which is examining decades of child protection failings at Rochdale institutions: "Then Cyril Smith turned up, he started prodding me around and then he started fondling and said to Mrs Saille 'There is nothing wrong with him'.

"I ended up in Rochdale Infirmary with a ruptured appendix."

He claimed abuse at the hands of the politician began almost as soon as he arrived at Cambridge House, telling the inquiry: "He was Cyril Smith - what could I do? I was 15 years old. I was scared shitless."

Smith, he said, had close ties to the hostel and organised Christmas parties among other social functions.

The alleged victim arrived at Cambridge House when he was in his mid-teens and is one of a string of former residents to claim Smith abused them as boys.

He said the group were held up at the social gatherings as an example of Smith's benevolence to "poor, unfortunate boys".

He added: "Of course, we were unfortunate because we were under the thumb of Cyril Smith."

The 29-stone politician was said to have given the man an intrusive medical examination days after his arrival, telling him to take off his underpants and groping his testicles.

"Then he started stroking me," the man told the hearing.

A more violent episode followed when he skipped work for the day and went to Manchester with a friend, returning to the hostel to learn that Smith had found out via the warden, the inquiry was told.

"When we came back we were taken individually into the 'quiet room' and the same examination again.

"And then a spanking - obviously big, fat, flabby hands - bang, bang, bang.

"And if you ever saw those hands - they were like weapons.

"After he spanked me, he started stroking me, saying 'There, there, it is all right' because I was crying, you know, he really hurt me."

Smith never faced prosecution before his death in 2010, despite enduring a political career dogged by police investigations and accusations of sexual abuse.

The alleged victim expressed anger at the amount of time it took for his allegations to come to light.

"How did he get away with it? Why did people turn a blind eye?" he said.

Another witness said Smith had carried out a medical examination on him at Cambridge House despite not being qualified to do so.

He claimed Smith's alleged ability to offend with impunity was a reflection of his control over public life in Rochdale.

He told the inquiry: "It was partly the era. At the time, teenagers weren't very outspoken, but Smith made himself as intimidating as possible.

"Not only did adults fear him, children feared him and it may seem odd, describing a 17-year-old as a child, but we are talking about 1961-1962, it was a different era.

"He had control more or less of the town of Rochdale, he didn't just control the boys in the hostel. Everyone in that town was - if not feared, certainly wouldn't cross him.

"When I was there, I was aware of what had happened to me, I was not aware of it happening to other boys in there.

"And yet there was some sort of common understanding that something was going on, but I wasn't aware of him doing anything to other boys because it wasn't really spoken about."

When he came to leave Cambridge House, he alleged Smith confronted him.

"He took me to one side and gave me the advice that I should never tell anyone about what happened when I was at Cambridge House."

He agreed with lead counsel Brian Altman QC that this was taken to mean the medical examinations.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved.