I received a message that began “I’m shaking as I type all this as I haven’t ever discussed with anyone else before.” He wrote his phone number and I called. Immediately. “Do you remember Mr X? ” he said. I did remember Mr X. He was one of the staff in my children’s home. I described his appearance to make sure. We compared dates. It was the same name and the right dates and a corresponding distinct physical description. It was him.
She continued “Mr X was removed quite quickly from Oaklands and given a desk job at HQ in Wigan where I worked. I saw why in his personel file. It was my job to file it. As far as I can remember he was not disciplined, not sacked and not reported to police, just relocated.”. I asked what was written in the report? “Mr X was moved from the children’s home for making boys strip naked and fight.” The memory of seeing the file has stayed with the caller but the Jimmy Saville enquiry brought it up again. My own memory of Mr X is through one boy who told me (when I was in the Oaklands) that Mr X had bent him over his knee and slapped his bare bottom as punishment. This confession is a clear memory.
Oaklands was run by a small barrel chested beer drinking man called John Harding, an avid Manchester city supporter. A few years after leaving the care system his daughter Samantha was imprisoned for bank robbery. Mr X moved from Woodfields childrens home to oaklands childrens home with Mr Harding in charge of both. Mr X was, after Oaklands, posted to Wood End Assessment Centre (need to check this) which was run with a rod of iron by a notorious ex army man called Mr Mackey. In a previous post a Paul Hindle commented about Wood End Assessment Centre
“I was there. was in Homelea first did think I escaped the abuse. Then I got to Woodend got my first kickin 3 hours later. Nose broken 3 ribs and wrist. They didn’t bother with a doctor. Just banged me up for three weeks. I was 12 years old”