Eight men and women have been charged with child abuse dating back to the 1970s.
The charges follow an investigation by West Mercia Police into allegations of child sexual and physical abuse at Rhydd Court School in Hanley Castle in Worcestershire between the late 1970s and early 1990s.
Rhydd Court School in Malvern, Worcester was a council run boarding school for boys between the ages of 10 to 19 with behavioural and learning difficulties. They have historically been many allegations of sexual and physical abuse by staff and other pupils at the school.
Following investigation the school was closed in 1991, however, investigations have been reopened under Operation Lydstep. Those charged are aged between 50 and 82 and are based across the country; they are due to appear at Worcester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 4 August.
The NSPCC has set up a helpline for anyone who would like to pass information to the investigative team, or would like help and support. To contact the NSPCC please ring 0844 8921 026 or email [email protected] 8am to 10pm Monday to Friday (including bank holidays) and 9am to 6pm on Saturday and Sundays.
Details of the individuals charged are:-
Cynthia Moore, 81, of Diddies, Bude, conspiracy to commit buggery, conspiracy to commit indecent assault, child cruelty and conspiracy to commit child cruelty. John Dixon, 82, of Storeys Lane, Burgh Le Marsh, Skegnes, charged with four counts of buggery, two counts of conspiracy to commit buggery, six counts of indecent assault, two counts of conspiracy to commit child cruelty.
Michael Connor, 69, of Bedford Farm Court, Crofton, Wakefield, charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit buggery, three counts of conspiracy to commit indecent assault, indecent assault, two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, conspiracy to commit child cruelty.
Terence Heath, 74, of Hanley Castle, Worcester, charged with two counts of indecent assault; two counts of conspiracy to commit buggery; conspiracy to commit child cruelty. Anita Gunning, 59, of Federation Road, Plymouth, charged with two counts of indecent assault; conspiracy to indecent assault; conspiracy to commit child cruelty.
David Sykes, 75, of Gallow Tree Road, Rotherham, charged with grievous bodily harm without intent; indecent assault; conspiracy to commit child cruelty.
Charmaine James, 61, of West Scotstown, Rathven, Buckie, charged with two counts of indecent assault; gross indecency; conspiracy to commit child cruelty. Marie Burston, 50, of Eckington Road, Bredon, Tewkesbury, charged with indecent assault; conspiracy to commit child cruelty.
Mark Paul, from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The Crown Prosecution Service authorised West Mercia Police to charge the defendants following careful consideration of the evidence they presented to us as a result of their ongoing investigation.
“Criminal proceedings against the defendants are now active, and they have a right to a fair trial. Please be reminded that there should be no reporting, commentary or online information sharing that could prejudice these proceedings.”
The investigation relates to allegations made between the late 1970s and early 1990s at a time when the premises was owned by the local authority. The premises have since been sold; the investigation and charges are not in any way linked to anyone connected with the premises since it was sold, the investigation and charges relate solely to the time the premises operated as Rhydd Court School.