Rochdale abuse: 'Insufficient evidence' for perjury charges

image captionRichard Farnell was in charge of Rochdale Council between 1986 and 1992

No further criminal action will be taken against a former Rochdale Council leader who was investigated for perjury after giving evidence to an inquiry into child sex abuse.

Richard Farnell was accused of "lying under oath" about being unaware of child sex abuse in Rochdale.

Police said after a "full review" there was insufficient evidence to charge him.

Mr Farnell said he was telling the truth and this decision vindicated him.

Pupils at Knowl View residential school were abused at the school and sexually exploited in the town centre over a 20-year period.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) report branded Mr Farnell as "shameful" and said that it "defied belief" he was unaware of what was happening.

In May last year, Greater Manchester Police asked the Met Police to review an allegation of perjury.

Acting Det Ch Insp Gail Granville has written to Mr Farnell to inform him they will not be taking matters any further following a "full review" of the evidence.

image captionRochdale's Knowl View residential school closed in the mid-1990s

Mr Farnell told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "There is not one scrap of evidence that I knew about the failings at Knowl View almost 30 years ago.

"The council's most senior officers at the time all told the inquiry they did not inform me.

"The inquiry examined over 100,000 pages of letters, reports and documents and not a single one was addressed to me or informed me about Knowl View."

He said it had been "extremely stressful" to have the allegation hanging over him for 12 months, but said he was confident it would "come to nothing" as he was telling the truth.

"We must never, never forget the victims in this tragedy," he added.

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