Three men have been arrested in connection with sexual and physical abuse claims at three private Cheltenham schools.

A 65 year man from Cheltenham has been arrested on suspicion of physical and sexual abuse. A 74 year old man from the Tewkesbury area and a 71 year old man from South West Wales have been arrested on suspicion of physical abuse. It is alleged that the abuse took place at three Cheltenham Schools; Badgeworth Court, Dowdeswell Court and Clouds House School near Salisbury. All the men have been released on bail until September this year.

Wiltshire Police have received allegations of abuse from more than 70 former pupils between the 1960’s and 1980’s before the school closed. The three schools were privately run by Anthony Hurley and the children were placed there by local authorities. Hurley appeared in Court in 2000 on allegations of cruelty and sexual abuse of children but he was unfit to stand trial. Hurley died in 2003.

The investigation is being led by officers from Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Avon and Somerset Police forces. A police spokesman said, “A 70 year old man from the Norfolk area yesterday was arrested on suspicion of physical and sexual abuse in connection with historical allegations in relation to the Badgeworth Court Group of schools. He has been interviewed by officers from the regional Brunel Major Crime Investigation Team and bailed to return to the police in September pending further inquiries.”

Detective Chief Inspector Jeremy Carter of Wiltshire Police described the investigation as “lengthy” and “complicated”. The Officers are trying to speak to over 100 people as part of their investigation. He said “This is a slow process. We thank people for their patience. It’s a particularly challenging and complex investigation due to the subject matter.”

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