Jul 9, 2013

William Henry Smith School (WHSS) Brighouse, West Yorkshire – allegations of historical sexual and physical abuse


William Henry Smith School is a residential boys only school that takes pupils who have learning disabilities and emotional or behaviour problems.  It is alleged by a whistle blower that during the 1970’s and 1980’s sexual and physical abuse was common and that the extent of the abuse, if uncovered, would rival that of the “Savile enquiry.”  We are told over 100 former pupils may have been subjected to the abuse.

In 2010 civil action was taken against the school alleging the headmaster, Peter Beall, indecently assaulted a pupil.  In 2012 Peter Merrick, a former assistant head master was acquitted at the Crown Court on a number of counts relating to allegations made by four former pupils.  We understand a number of former pupils have now taken action legal against the school, who are in the process of making a number of settlements.

We have received specific allegations of sexual misconduct against a woman named as “Sally” (we are aware of her identity).  We are told this woman was arrested but at the time of her arrest the police had insufficient evidence to prefer charges.  If you were a pupil subjected to Sally’s advances or can identify a pupil(s) who had a sexual relationship with her, we need you to contact us.

Other staff members have been arrested but to date the police, through lack of evidence, have found it impossible to prefer charges.  We believe there may be a number of boys, who have yet to come forward.  The police can now use evidence of similar behaviour to mount a case against anyone guilty of abuse.

We are attempting to trace Jason Leach and Jason Fishwick, all pupils at the school.  If you were a pupil at the school and were subjected to abuse (or know of another pupil, who was abused) or indeed, know the whereabouts of Mark Edson, Jason Leach and Jason Fishwick, we need you to contact us – we guarantee you can speak to us in confidence.  If you would like to speak with us about Peter Beall and/or Peter Merrick, please do not hesitate to contact us.”

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