Man arrested over alleged abuse at Shefford boys’ home

St Francis Boys Home in Shefford

St Francis Boys Home in Shefford - Credit: Archant

A man is being questioned by police after an investigation was reopened into abuse allegations at a former boys’ home.

Bedfordshire Police closed an investigation into claims of abuse at the St Francis Boys’ Home in Shefford last month saying that officers had followed up all leads but failed to find anyone alive to prosecute. At the time there was one person outstanding who police had not been able to locate.

But new information received from an ex-resident has led to the investigation being reopened and a 77-year-old man being arrested.

A total of 28 ex-residents have come forward with allegations that they were physically or sexually abused at the former boys’ home, which was run by the Northampton diocese of the Catholic Church.

The home closed in 1974 and was converted into flats.

A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said: “A 77-year-old man from Thetford was arrested on Friday evening on suspicion of historic physical and sexual abuse as part of the wider investigation into complaints about staff at Shefford boys’ home. He was interviewed and released on police bail pending further enquires. The claims relate to four victims who have been informed of our progress so far, and enquiries continue.”

Former resident Gordon McIntosh, who has said he suffered physical abuse while at the home, said: “Let’s hope that all the good work on our case doesn’t go to waste, there are many other witnesses to find and interview. I knew deep down that our story would be told and justice would prevail.

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“This arrest could be the key to Pandora’s Box and once opened the truth will be revealed, the police need to keep on and pursue other witnesses and locate any other remaining suspects.”

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