It appears that after two years in the job, Deneal Smith is no longer headmaster at Warwick School, where 43 years ago sadistic brute Geoffrey Eve, a serial physical abuser of young boys, threw my head against the wall not once but twice. I reprint below Dr Smith’s last email to me, washing his hands of the whole affair. Perhaps new HM, James Barker, himself an OW, might – in light of revelations of Everyone’s Invited – actually deal with this issue.
Everyone’s Invited deals primarily with sexual abuse, usually by students, at Britain’s public schools. But it has also flagged up serious allegations of physical abuse and that has prompted others to speak of how they suffered including author Louis de Bernières and broadcaster John Suchet.
The problem with historic physical abuse is that unless you can provide medical proof, the Police will not deal with events of many years ago. I was too ashamed of what Eve had done to me, assuming that it was my fault, to tell my father what happened so there is no medical record of the bruising on my head. That bastard Eve knew he could get away with abuse of boy after boy because we all dared not say anything and because the school repeatedly covered up for him. Knowing that the Police will do nothing/can do nothing, Dr Smith’s response to my allegations and those of a number of other boys (detailed on this website HERE) is to pass the matter on to the Police.
One vague request for folks to come forward in the OW if they had suffered abuse was Dr Smith’s only sop to me. But he knew the Old Warwickian is a publication those folks who hated Warwick are unlikely to read so that they can look at old photos of strapping lads playing sport. Under Dr Smith, Warwick showed it still did not care one jot about what went on in the bad old days.
Sexual abuse is a different matter and I am aware of two Warwick boys who claim to have been sexually abused by the same teacher. They gave independent accounts to me showing an identical modus operandi. Natch Warwick sent this man on his way with glowing references. The police might have investigated him but, knowing where he now lives and has access via private tuition to young boys, I can see no reference in the press to him having his collar felt. The local press always reports when ex public school teachers are convicted of such matters so I assume nothing has happened.
The pressure on schools to act must be mounting. Dr Smith clearly just wanted me to go away so punted the Eve matter into the long grass. For all I know, Geoffrey Eve may now be burning in hell for he would be in his nineties if he is still alive. So if Warwick is just playing for time, it may not have long to play. That, I hope Mr Barker would agree, would be wrong. For the issue is not just Eve and Mr X the alleged sexual abuser but the cover up of which there clearly was one.
One victim of Mr X recalls another master being present as he was abused in the Chapel. Mr Eve was given time off after his first spate of attacks but then invited back just in time to abuse me. Then, when eventually he caused a boy to lose his hearing after one particularly frenzied attack, he was allowed to take early retirement on a full pension and – until I objected – allowed back to OW and school functions where he could smile at his former victims. Who on earth at Warwick allowed that and why?
I am conscious that there are some Old Warwickians and former teachers who have read the testimonies of victims of abuse at Warwick on these pages and, like Deneal Smith, would rather they had not appeared and view them as matters best forgotten. They view my writings with hostility and anger. I was aware as I attended a virtual OW lecture the other day that my presence was not universally welcomed even by someone who as a teacher I still respect enormously.
For many, notably boorish rugger buggers, Warwick was perhaps the best time of their life, their “Glory Days.” For others, it was a most miserable existence. I suppose my time swung from one extreme to another. For some of the old boys who have contacted me, Warwick was just pure hell, the thought of what they experienced can still reduce them to tears. My hope is that new HM Mr Barker will accept that and finally institute a formal and open investigation as I have been suggesting for the past four years.
And now to Deneal in denial writing in the full knowledge that the Police will be unable to do anything about allegations of physical abuse.:
Dear Mr Winnifrith
I write further to your email of 26 November attaching a link to your most recent post.
I was very sorry to hear the reported comments of Pupil C and the abuse he described. I also note your references to sexual abuse and other victims.
As you may be aware, we are required to report any allegations that might indicate a person would pose a risk of harm if they continue to work in regular or close contact with children, specifically where it is alleged that a teacher has:
• behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
• possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
• behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children.
Where allegations are made against a teacher who is no longer teaching, they should be referred to the police. Historical allegations of abuse should also be referred to the police.
We have therefore referred your blog to the police and they may be in contact with you shortly for more information. We are unable to take further action until and unless we are expressly authorised to do so.
Safeguarding and the protection of children is an absolute priority and I would encourage anyone with concerns about the way they are being or have been treated at the school to contact me directly and, if they consider that a criminal offence may have taken place, the police, so that appropriate action can be taken.
Of course the Police did contact me as I noted HERE. But as I also noted at the time it was agreed that thery could do nothing which Dr Smith knew would be the case all along. He was just fobbing me off. Warwick didn’t care about Eve’s abuse in 1978 and it didn’t care in 2019. Does it care in 2021?