Richard Farrell, ex Rochdale council leader, is facing the possibility of a police investigation after the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse ( IISCA) concluded that he lied under oath last year whilst giving evidence as part of the inquiry.

The inquiry has found that there was “a careless and wholly inadequate response to the serious abuse of children at Knowl View School, Rochdale.”

Farrell was the leader of Rochdale Council between 1986 and 1992. He returned to the role in 2014. He resigned from his post in December 2017 after “pressure over his testimony.” Farrell’s evidence was that he unaware of the sexual abuse claims until 2012 when the scandal broke.

The inquiry said “that it defied belief that Farrell did not know about the abuse earlier.”

The chair of the Inquiry Professor Alexis Jay, said:

“After listening to the evidence presented by a number of victims and survivors in Rochdale at the time, I am deeply disturbed at the evidence of extensive abuse and the institutional responses to that abuse.
Many of those who testified to their abuse have never had the opportunity to seek justice through the courts. I hope that the public hearings and this report has offered them some measure of acknowledgement for their suffering.”

The inquiry went on to say, “It was shameful, that Farnell refused to accept any personal responsibility for the young lives blighted while he was leader. Instead, he blamed senior officials in education and social services council departments.”

The report also criticised,” Margaret Thatcher’s remarkable decision to award a knighthood to the suspected child abuser Cyril Smith.” The inquiry said.” the knighthood in 1988 showed the unwillingness of those at the highest level to believe the late politician’s alleged victims.”

The findings of the inquiry support the victims who have consistently made complaints of the sexual abuse they suffered.


Jordans Solicitors has a  specialist child abuse compensation team who represent victims of abuse. If you have been a victim of abuse and would like advice on pursuing a civil claim, please contact one of our experienced lawyers on 0800 9555 094 or request a call back.

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