Call for Manchester's Savile abuse inquiry to be 'independent'

Jimmy Savile Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Claims the former DJ abused children at 21 children's homes and schools are being investigated

The inquiry into allegations of abuse by Jimmy Savile at children's homes in Manchester should be independent of the local authority, said a solicitor representing many of his victims.

Peter Garsden wants the city council to appoint a retired judge or QC to examine abuse claims at three homes, including Broome House in Didsbury.

The government has charged local authorities with the task.

Manchester City Council has pledged to undertake a thorough investigation.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said claims that the former DJ abused children at 21 children's homes and schools in England must be investigated by local authorities. The allegations relate to the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Image caption Peter Garsden said a judge or an external body should conduct the inquiry

Mr Garsden, of Abney Garsden in Cheadle Hulme, said it "seems crass" that the council which ran Broome House was being asked to investigate themselves.

"Obviously there is a conflict of interest and that inquiry should be conducted independently by a judge or even an external body such as a different local authority rather than Manchester [City Council] doing the inquiry," said Mr Garsden.

He also cited "past mistakes" when an authority investigated itself, such as North Wales abuse inquiry when concerns about libel and issues raised by the authority's insurers prevented publication of the findings.

Mr Garsden is leading a group action for compensation from the city council for victims of historical sex abuse at three of its children's homes. The cut off date for new claims is 30 May.

The action relates to Rosehill in Northenden; Broome House in Didsbury and Mobberley Boys School in Knutsford.

A spokeswoman for Manchester City Council said the authority "take all allegations of abuse extremely seriously".

"We will do everything we can to investigate as thoroughly as possible in accordance with the process."

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