We are now on the third headmaster at Warwick School since I first raised the issue of historic abuse. At that time, Geoffrey Eve, the man who twice smashed my head against the wall, was 86 but Gus Locke then Deneal Smith kicked the issue into the long grass. Now it seems as if James Barker, the new head and an OW himself, is intent on continuing the cover up culture.
I accept that Eve, now 96, will never face justice. As I explained to Barker, the Police have – thanks to me bring the issue to light – got multiple accounts from victims and witnesses. But since we cannot provide medical evidence, Eve cannot be prosecuted. I also discussed with Barker a teacher who sexually abused at least two boys but where the Police have only one who will go on record as the other, quite wrongly, feels too much shame and so again cannot prosecute. In this case, Warwick received a parental complaint of inappropriate behaviour but other than marking it on the teacher’s record did nothing. He left under no cloud to go and give private tuition to young boys. I just cannot understand what Warwick was doing in acting this way.
So what is the way forward? I have urged Barker, as I urged Locke and Smith, to get Warwick to accept it had an issue with both sexual and physical abuse of boys as recently as the 1990s but that it acted shamefully to protect the sadistic or perverted teachers not the students. And to establish a lawyer-led enquiry going to the press urging them to publicise this so that other victims might realise they were not alone and come forward. That could lead to paedophiles actually facing enough victims to be prosecuted. But it might also leave Warwick realising the extent of its failings and being ready to apologise in full to the victims.
In the case of Eve, the sadistic old bastard was put on fully paid leave after beating up boys in the 1970s. The school knew what he was doing. But after a suitable gap, he came back and so beat up new little boys, including me. As we saw in shocking new testimony I published yesterday, if anybody did complain, the school made them the guilty party and gave Eve a clean pass.
I have, in recent weeks, been made aware of a second teacher from Warwick who appears to have engaged in highly inappropriate sexual behaviour with young boys. Perhaps something will happen there and if it does that will make Warwick’s refusal to hold the enquiry that I and other victims have been asking for so long even more shameful. If nothing happens, I am considering naming the first paedophile teacher in order to encourage more victims to come forward. I find it inconceivable that a kid in a candy store picked up only two bars of chocolate in more than a decade.
I am not sure of my next step. A lot depends on Warwick. Right now, having been told that without Warwick opening up the Police can do nothing about Eve and paedophile one who still appears to be teaching young boys in private, Mr Barker’s response is to…go to the Police who have already said that they can do nothing. He writes:
Dear Mr Winnifrith
We have referred the content of your latest blogs and emails to the police and local authority for guidance.
Where misconduct is reported to us which may constitute a criminal offence, we have an obligation to first report matters to the authorities and then to work with them to determine appropriate action. We have done so and we are waiting for further guidance.
I do understand that you have been raising concerns for some time and are keen to see action from us.
We will be in touch as soon as we can.
After ten years, I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall. The Police can do nothing so, knowing this, Mr Barker…er …goes to the Police. This makes Warwick appear to be doing something when it knows that nothing at all will result. And all the time, Eve gets older and older, closer to the time when he will slip away without ever having to face up to his crimes.
On the other hand, admitting there was a massive issue, announcing an enquiry and inviting the local and regional media in to help publicise it and reaching out to contact all ex pupils, not just the self selecting group of rugger hearties who loved the old place and so who read the Old Warwickian, might establish the extent of the cover-up and those involved. It may also unearth new victims of sexual abuse who might actually help to put guilty men where they belong, in jail, rather than in comfortable retirement or in a position where they can continue to abuse young boys.
There is no shame in Warwick today admitting to its historic issues. But in continuing to deny them and to continue the culture of cover-up is, as other schools across the country are forced to confront their past, truly disgraceful.