The Liberal MP Cyril Smith is a prominent name now said to have been complicit and active in paedophile rings linked to Westminster and a string of care homes in his constituency of Rochdale.
This documentary from Channel 4's Dispatches series contains disturbingly detailed accounts of his alleged offences, as well as describing how it was that charges were never brought - despite an 80 page police dossier of evidence of his activities being submitted to the CPS as long ago as 1969. His file was, unusually, kept by Special Branch - lending credence to claims that he was being 'protected' on account of his political importance and influence.
As the ongoing investigations into allegations of organised abuse in London during the 1970s and 1980s at the Elm Guest House developed, Smith was named as a possible attendee at the now-notorious address.
These claims gained further credibility when, in July 2014, the contents of a Lancashire Police report dating as far back as 1970 were revealed.
The report outlined a number of serious allegations against Smith, and recommended prosecution for offences against young boys in one of the Rochdale care homes in which he was involved in establishing and managing. In the most damning passages of the 14 page report, the detective (whose name has been redacted from the document) said:
"Over a considerable period of time, while sheltering beneath a veneer of responsibility, he has used his unique position to indulge in a series of indecent episodes with young boys towards whom he had a special responsibility. He had difficulty in articulating and even the stock replies he proffered could only be obtained after repeated promptings from his solicitor. Were he ever to be placed in the witness box, he would be at the mercy of any competent counsel. Prima facie, he appears guilty of numerous offences of indecent assault."
Despite the evidence and testimony collected at the time, Smith faced no prosecution. It is mentioned in the report how local political figures - including magistrates - had leaned on police to not pursue prosecution, warning of 'repercussions.'
His family maintain that he strenuously denied such allegations during his life, and point out that now he is dead he is in no position to defend his reputation.
Sexual and physical abuse allegations In May 1979, a local underground magazine, the Rochdale Alternative Press, alleged that in the 1960s Smith had spanked and sexually abused teenage boys in a hostel he co-founded. The matter was investigated by the police but Smith was not prosecuted. [Wikipedia]