Victims of alleged historical abuse in North-East care homes urged to come forward by MP

Ronnie Campbell

Ronnie Campbell

First published in News

A LABOUR MP has urged victims of historical abuse in childrens' homes in the North-East to come forward after one of his constituents failed in a bid for justice alone.

Ronnie Campbell, MP for Blyth Valley, highlighted the case of his constituent Terry Priestner, who alleges he was abused physically and sexually in a series of care homes in Northumberland in the 1970s.

Mr Campbell said the case was not proven during the major Operation Rose, which looked into a raft of complaints in Northumbria in the late 1990s, and told a debate in Westminster Hall his constituent had been left with no route to justice.

He said Mr Priestner had been repeatedly told abuse was just what happened in the 1970s.

But children and families minister Edward Timpson said Mr Priestner's case had been looked at by police and no way to proceed had been found.

He added Mr Priestner could contact the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) if he felt this decision was wrong.

Mr Campbell said: "The attitude is these things happened in homes - that attitude at the time... of the police, of most people.

"Terry Priestner wants publicity, he want publicity because he had other inmates with him in the homes who were abused in the homes as well... he doesn't know where they are and he wants them to come forward.

"He says these abusers, the Jimmy Saviles and the rest of them celebrities, they are aren't getting away with it and neither are these people who were working for the council social services.

"They should not get away with it."

Responding to the debate, Mr Timpson said: "We are too well aware there continue to be shocking, appalling revelations of child abuse, particularly involving our most vulnerable children unable to live with their own families.

"I was very saddened to hear Mr Priestner does not feel he has received justice that he should be entitled to as a result of the abuse he has testified to.

"I can't go into commentary on individual cases and the police investigation is an operational matter for Northumbria Police.

"However, I do understand the protecting vulnerable persons unit within the Northumbria Police crime department has investigated the allegations your constituent has made.

"I also understand that following substantial inquiries they have not been able to take any further action in relation to Mr Priestner's allegations.

"I can appreciate and understand Mr Priestner must feel extremely frustrated by this position and if he remains unhappy about the way the police have handled this case, then he can of course raise his concerns with the IPCC."

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