Legal fight goes on more than 50 years after first allegations

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  • 1958 Year of first alleged incident of abuse at Rosehill

  • April 1997 Operation Cleopatra launched by Greater Manchester Police. More than 350 cases were examined by a dedicated team of more than 20 officers working out of a special incident room in Stockport. More than 922 statements taken from people who spent time in 66 different homes over three decades.

  • 2001 First victims’ group formed to seek compensation from Manchester council for abuse suffered during their time at various council-run care homes.

  • 2002 Operation Cleopatra wound-up, resulting in six men being charged with a range of offences.

  • May 2004 The final prosecution resulting from Operation Cleopatra. Former Broome House warden and assistant director of Manchester social services Ronald Hall eventually jailed for 11 years, with deputy Ian Gray given 14 years and ex-social worker Phillip Roe jailed for 12-and-a-half years.

  • 2007 Damages of £2.27m awarded to 168 men involved in the first claimant group.

  • 2008 Second victims’ group formed for those who missed the deadline for the first.

  • June 2010 Lawyers representing the victims accept an offer of a 45 per reduction in their settlements, in exchange for Manchester council agreeing not to use the time which has passed since the offences as a defence to have cases struck out.

June 2010

Victims of children’s home abuse to get compensation

The victims of a child abuse scandal in three of Manchester’s children‘s homes are to receive compensation for their ordeal.

The 163 people said they were physically and sexually abused at Rosehill in Northenden, Broome House in Didsbury, and Mobberley Boys School in Knutsford between the 1950s and 1990s.

A five-year police investigation launched in the late 1990s discovered widespread incidents of rape and children being forced to work as prostitutes and the former assistant director of Manchester social services Ronald Hall was arrested in 2001.

It was this criminal prosecution that opened the doors for the abuse victims to claim compensation for social services’ failure to protect them.

Now, Manchester City Council has said it will settle multi-million pound compensation payouts for the claimants so that they can avoid the ordeal of having to go to court.

The final amounts may take up to 12 months to finalise.

Peter Garsden, the solicitor for the victims, said: “The decision by Manchester City Council to avoid the costs and the time involved in contested litigation is very welcome indeed.”

A spokesperson from the council said it is committed to settling the claims as quickly as possible.

Melanie Williams, a personal injury lawyer at Hodge Jones & Allen LLP, comments: “This case shows how survivors of abuse can sometimes go on to successfully recover compensation 20-30 years after the events complained of.

“Anyone who has faced similar issues in the past should always seek legal advice about pursuing a claim and not assume that it’s too late. It may still be possible even after many years have elapsed because of the more sympathetic approach taken by the courts to cases of this nature.”

Those convicted

In December 2001, Ronald Hall (pic below), the warden of Broome House, was found guilty of eighteen charges of indecency against children in his care stretching back 30 years. He was jailed for 11 years.They found that Hall – who before his conviction had moved to live in Northumberland – molested children in his car, at a number of houses he owned, during holidays and in a Manchester theatre

Hall had risen to the rank of assistant director of Manchester City Council social services by the time of his arrest.

His colleague, Ian Gray, was jailed for 14 years earlier that year after being convicted of 23 similar offences.

In 2004, Philip Roe (pic below) was jailed for twelve-and-a-half years for 15 sexual abuse offences on children he visited in foster and care homes while he worked for Manchester’s social services department in the 1980s.His victims ranged in age from five to 16 when he was working in Manchester for social services. Roe was arrested in Hornchurch, Essex, where he now lives, but had been doing care work in the London after leaving Manchester. He was convicted of 15 charges – some of them specimen offences – of indecent assault and more serious sexual abuse. 

The jury heard a photograph of a naked 14-year-old wearing only a baseball cap was published in a gay contact magazine. Prosecutor Maurice Greene said it was the Crown’s case that Roe, who denied all the allegations, had preyed on vulnerable children in care. They were too young to object and because of Roe’s position, did not know what to do about what was happening to them.

He was working as a social worker in Essex when he was arrested as part of Operation Cleopatra.