Care home abuse claims at Cranbourne Children's Home in Cheriton
Jan Ralph who stayed at
Cranbourne care home as a child
by Sam Lennon
Police are investigating allegations of abuse at a former
children's home - some going back more than 50
They centre on the former Cranbourne Children's Home, in
Cheriton High Street, between the 1950s to the 1970s and two
alleged victims have spoken out.
Steven Lee, 64, and 52-year-old Janette Ralph - who have
waived their right to anonymity - both say they were beaten
and sexually abused by adult carers.
Mr Lee, who now lives in Wales, contacted Kent Police last week
and is expecting officers to visit and interview him this week.
And he reveals it was the torrent of child abuse
allegations from others against disgraced DJ Jimmy Savile that gave
him the courage to come forward.
He said: "I was regularly beaten by care staff, sexually abused
and forced to have injections and tablets.
"I know the main person responsible is now dead, but I don't
want this brushed under the carpet.
Former Cranbourne House
children's home, Cheriton
"I would be beaten for anything, for instance if I came back to
the home late from school. I would be kicked and beaten with
objects such as a massive stick. I was even hit with a big red book
and whacked across the ear with a slipper."
Ms Ralph (nee Mills) said she and other children at
Cranbourne were made to fight for their pocket money.
She says she was also threatened by her adult tormentors if she
told anyone of her treatment.
Ms Ralph, now a divorcee living in Shaftesbury Avenue,
Folkestone, was at the home from 1965 when she was five, until
She said: "I was forced to eat my own vomit and sexually abused
by a male member of staff.
Alleged abuse victim
"They would make us fight each other for our pocket money, even
brother had to fight brother and sister had to fight sister.
"I was constantly beaten and when I was abused I was told not to
tell anyone, otherwise I would be put away until I was 18.
"My mother later tried to get me out and into a council home but
the authorities told her I was adequately housed.
"I am very angry about what happened now. I have a dream that if
I won the Lottery I would buy Cranbourne and turn it into a happy
Mr Lee, who now lives in South Wales, was born in Gravesend and
was moved to the home in 1952 - staying there until he ran
away in 1960.
During that time, he attended two schools near the home
- Morehall and St Martin's in Horn Street.
He had two years away from the home when he was in Great
Ormond Street children's hospital suffering a long-term
After leaving the home he lived in Ramsgate and Broadstairs
before eventually settling in Wales.
"I have a dream that if I won the Lottery I would buy Cranbourne and turn it into a happy place" – Janette Ralph
Mr Lee said: "I don't
know why I was ever sent to that home. My parents were still alive
at the time. I was back in contact with my mother when I was grown
up and she would never tell me why.
"By the time it looked like she was ready to tell me, about 20
years ago, she died."
Mr Lee, a retired MOT tester, is now married with four children,
11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Kent Police confirmed they have received allegations about abuse
at Cranbourne Children's Home and they are being
The home was a complex of buildings, which are now deserted or
occupied by totally unconnected organisations. It had been a Kent
County Council home from approximately 1945.
Andrew Ireland, corporate director for families and social care
at Kent County Council, said: "We are concerned to hear of any
allegations of child abuse, whether taking place now or in the
past, and we will do all we can to support the police with their
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