Police close investigation into Shefford boys’ home abuse case

St Francis Boys' Home in Shefford, which closed in 1974

St Francis Boys' Home in Shefford, which closed in 1974 - Credit: Archant

An investigation into abuse allegations at a former boys’ home has been closed despite past files now being found.

Former residents at St Francis Boys’ Home in Shefford had come forward with historic claims of sexual and physical abuse, so police opened an investigation in May this year.

But Bedfordshire Police were unable to locate the files of a past investigation which related to claims from a number of residents between 1998 and 2003.

It was assumed the files had been destroyed as at the time there was no requirement to keep them, but the historic files of four complaints were located by archivists at Luton Police Station two weeks ago.

Since April 2013, Bedfordshire Police have received a further 28 historic reports of sexual and physical abuse against former staff members from ex-residents while staying at the children’s home in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, while the home was run by the Catholic Church. It closed in 1974.

You may also want to watch:

In a statement, Befordshire Police said: “In 2003, the file was reviewed by the Crime Prosecution Service and that body decided that there was insufficient evidence to provide realistic prospects of securing a conviction in these cases. This was due to the time lapse between the events and the complaints.

“Since finding the file, it’s been reviewed again and we can confirm no further criminal investigation can take place since all the alleged offenders are now dead.

Most Read

“Obviously, we regret the amount of time it has taken to locate the file relating to the older complaints and we apologise for the confusion.”

Former resident Gordon McIntosh, one of the former residents who has filed a complaint, said: “We are all very disappointed that the police have closed their investigation as we believe that there are at least four other staff members who have to be confirmed as deceased.

“We would like to pursue our civil claim against the home, the organisation and Northampton Diocese that ran the home, and we are awaiting further updates from our solicitor. The police have informed our solicitor that she may have those files, but I find it very strange that they found the files and then immediately closed the investigation.

“We deserve justice, all of us carry the mental scars from our days at the home and we will carry them with us to our graves.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter