Man tells how he was ‘punished’ at open day
AFORMER Knowl View pupil has told how a paedophile teacher helped Cyril Smith abuse him at the school’s official opening day.
Giving evidence to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse the man said during the opening ceremony in 1969 he was put on ‘car park duty’ but was ‘punished’ for asking Smith, then a governor at the school, to park with other guests.
Following the function the man said teacher David Higgins - the only person convicted of abusing boys at the Rochdale school - told him to go to his flat.
When he arrived Smith was there.
In a statement read out to the inquiry the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “I was told that as I got Cyril Smith to park his car in the wrong place, I had to be punished.
“This could be done by the headmaster or it could be done by Cyril Smith. “I started to protest. “I was then pushed forward over the back of a chair or sofa in the flat. This was done by Higgins.
“He was standing to one side.
“He used one hand to push my head down and the other hand to pull my trousers down.
“I could feel that Cyril Smith was behind me.
“I could hear that Cyril Smith was undoing his clothes.
“I felt another hand reach around and grab my genitals.
“It could only have been Cyril Smith as Higgins was using one hand to hold my head down and was pulling my trousers down with the other.
“I realised what was happening.
“I struggled, and somehow I managed to break loose and I left.
“As I left, they were laughing.”
The man claimed he later told head teacher John Turner about the incident but he “called me a liar” and “told me that I wouldn’t be believed”.
Mr Turner was “somebody I trusted” but “I saw a different side to him” after the complaint, the man claimed.
He alleged he “gave me a slap across the head” which was “so hard that I had a headache”.
He told me that I had to “consider the reputation of the school”, the alleged victim said.
The man said he was sexually assaulted by Higgins on other occasions and he also saw the teacher abusing other pupils.
He told the inquiry that: “Higgins acted like he had a God-given right to treat any kid as he liked.
“Any child was a target and he made it blatantly obvious that he was sexually attracted to the boys in his care.
“This was obvious to the pupils and must have been obvious to the other members of staff.”
Higgins was jailed in 2002 after admitting indecently assaulting boys at Knowl View and also gross indecency.
He is currently serving a 14 year sentence for serious sexual offences after he was also convicted of multiple rape and sex offences on a young boy while he was a teacher at a school in Leeds, at Leeds Crown Court in 2014.
●●A former Knowl View pupil claims he was abused at the school’s opening day