Man, 70, arrested over historic sex abuse claims at Swaylands School in Penshurst
Swaylands School, set up
in 1942, has been converted into flats
A 70-year-old man was today arrested as part of an historic chid
sex abuse investigation at a Kent school dating back nearly 50
Police from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate worked
with Greater Manchester Police to detain the man from Lancashire
It follows the arrests of three others as part of the
investigation into previously unreported offences of child sex
abuse at Swaylands School in Penshurst between 1967 and 1993.
Two men have already been convicted, back in 1993, for six
offences each of sexual abuse against children at the school.
Both were sentenced to three years for the offences,
which related to four victims.
Since the new investigation has been launched around 20 victims
have been identified, across the country and even abroad.
A 72-year-old man from Norfolk, a 69-year-old man from
Edinburgh and a 60-year-old man from Berkshire are the three
already arrested and questioned by detectives in the latest
All suspects are on police bail as the investigation
A further three suspects identified by police died before the
investigation was launched.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Fotheringham, of Kent and Essex
Police's Serious Crime Directorate (pictured right), said: "This is
a complex inquiry, where we have traced many people and records
spanning a number of years.
"Kent and Essex Police take allegations of previously unreported
offending seriously and every effort is made to investigate
whenever appropriate and possible.
"We have also been working with a number of charities to ensure
that appropriate support is in place for the victims that we have
been speaking with."
Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for
People Abused in Childhood, said: "Coming forward and speaking with
the police about the crime of childhood abuse is never easy.
"This is a complex inquiry, where we have traced many people and records spanning a number of years..." – DCI Paul Fotheringham
"It is a particularly nasty crime that often leaves the victim
feeling vulnerable and anxious.
"These feelings usually persist long into adulthood. NAPAC is
pleased to be working alongside Kent Police to address these fears
and they will pass on our contact details to anyone who needs our
Swaylands School was set up in 1942 and between the mid 1960s
and 1994 was operated and managed by London Borough of
Barnet. The building has now been converted into flats.
Pupils with learning, emotional and behavioural difficulties
aged between seven and 19 were placed there by local authorities
across London and the South East of England.
Investigating officers can be reached on 01622 654852.
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