Sedbury Park School Child Abuse and Timeline

Sedbury Park School

This is a brief article and timeline on Sedbury Park School which was near Chepstow, Gloucestershire.

The school catered for up to 85 boys between 13 and 16, who were referred there by local authorities throughout the South West [69]. It was under Gloucestershire local authority control from 1973 – 1986 when it was shut down.

sedbury parkOperation Shogun, set up in 1998, centred on child sexual abuse at Sedbury Park School and it ended in 2005. Senior Investigating Officers for the Operation were DI Peter Davis and DI Neil Kelly.

The longest full-time investigation ever run by Gloucestershire Constabulary, was a joit investigation by the police and Council Social Services which led to the convictions of 22 people [p17 [60]]. Reporting restrictions put in place at the beginning of the first trial meant details of none of the cases could be publicised until October 2004 [60] and the legacy of that is a paucity of information.

At present there is information on only two of the twenty two men convicted, in 2004/5 and that for the least serious charges of indecency. Gerald Rex Sweatman for indecency offences from 1960/1, was given a suspended sentence and Geoffrey John Ward Allen received 3 and a half year sentence also for indecency offences only one of which was at Sedbury Park School. This was in 1977 when J McCreadie appears to have been Headmaster, as is the following case of Graham Anthony Ford. It is not known whether he was convicted but he was charged with nine offences of sexual assault and assault between November 1978 and October 1979.

It is not wholly clear why those reporting restrictions were in place or were lifted, and did not for instance include Sweatmans trial. Other suspects had files sent to the CPS who decided not to prosecute [58]. At least one prosecution whose result is not known seems to be in July 2002.

Despite it being such an important Operation and ending only ten years ago, Gloucestershire Police say they have no central record of documents filed either electronically or in paper format under the name “Operation Shogun”. Information from that investigation was “filed under separate and distinct criteria rather than the name of the operation” [70]. Further they appear to have bizarrely refused that persons request as being vexatious. The reason for not releasing information on 22 convictions is not yet clear. I have put a request into Goucestershire County Council for the final Report of Operation Shogun [71].

There is also some information in the National Archives on the management of Sedbury School [62]

John McCreadie

Any information gratefully received, in confidence if necessary, on the other 20 convictions, Headmaster John B McCreadie’s career at the school and elsewhere and any stories of life at the school.

Timeline

1958 May – 1961 Jun Gerald Rex Sweatman was employed as housemaster [58]

1960 May -July 1961 Two counts of indecent assault on a 16-year-old boy between May 1960 and July 1961 admitted to by Sweatman [61]

1973 -1986 Sedbury Park School was under local authority control from 1973 – 1986 [69]  [60]

1977 -1981 John B McCreadie, appears to have been Headmaster of Sedbury Park School at least from early 1977 [65] to 1981 [64]

1977 to 1984 Geoffrey Allen, from Worcester, worked at the school from 1976 to 1984 and lived in staff accommodation on the premises [69] [67]

1977 April – Jun 1983 Nine charges against Geoffrey Allen involve four boys and are alleged to have occurred between April 1977 and July 1983 [67]

1986 School closed [67]

1980-1987 National Archives Correspondence and related papers concerning the management of Sedbury Park School [62]

1991 Jun 27 David Hunt the Secretary of State for Wales directed Gwent County Council to inquire into the conduct and running of Ty Mawr school. Gwent Council invited Williams and J McCreadie to do the inquiry

1998 Operation Shogun, a joint investigation was begun [68] by Gloucestershire Constabulary and Gloucestershire Social Services, largely into child sexual abuse at Sedbury Park School

2002 Jul 17  Western Mail via the Free Library Former care worker in court on sex charges; GLOUCESTER: Magistrates send case to Crown Court [72] A MAN facing nine charges of alleged paedophile behaviour appeared before magistrates for the first time yesterday. Graham Anthony Ford, of Greenwood House, Beaufort Road, Newport, is charged with nine offences of sexual assault and assault at a Gloucestershire care home in the 1970s. Ford, 53, faces two charges of committing serious sexual offences, four of indecent assault, two of gross indecency and one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, all on boys under 16. The nine charges are alleged to have been committed while Ford was a care worker at Sedbury Park School, near Chepstow, between November 12, 1978 and October 30, 1979. Appearing before Gloucester Magistrates Ford spoke only to confirm his name, address and date of birth. Because two of the charges are indictable only, and have to be heard in the Crown Court, magistrates decided to have all charges heard at Gloucester Crown Court next Tuesday. Tim Burrows, defending, made no submissions to magistrates and Ford was granted bail on condition he reside at his home address, surrender his passport and not contact prosecution witnesses. Sedbury Park School was a residential care home for boys between 11 and 17, until it closed in 1986. Anyone who was a resident at Sedbury Park School who has information relating to the current investigation can contact detectives at Gloucestershire Constabulary.

2002 Jul 17 Community Care Former care worker in court on sex charges [73] A man facing nine charges of alleged paedophile behaviour appeared before magistrates for the first time yesterday. Graham Anthony Ford, of Greenwood House, Beaufort Road, Newport is charged with nine offences of sexual assault and assault at a Gloucestershire care home in the 1970s. Ford faces two charges of committing serious sexual offences, four of indecent assault, two of gross indecency and one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, all on boys under 16. The nine charges are alleged to have been committed while Ford was a care worker at Sedbury Park School, near Chepstow. Magistrates decided to have all charges heard in Gloucestershire crown court next Tuesday.

2002 Jul 22 The Argus School sex trial may be transferred to Bristol [67]. Nine charges against Geoffrey Allen involve four boys and are alleged to have occurred between April 1977 and July 1983 [67] Two other charges involve one boy and are alleged to have taken place between November 1993 and November 1996 – in Worcester.  Guy Boney QC, prosecuting said another former master at the school was charged on Monday with two offences of indecent assault on former pupils, one of whom is involved in this case [Who? too early for Sweatman being charged, and his cases were in 1960s.]

2003 Aug Gerald Sweatman Arrested [58]

2003 Oct During a trial heard at Bristol Crown Court Allen pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent assault on one victim, indecent assault and indecency with another victim and buggery and four separate indecent assaults on a further victim. All victims were
under 16 at the time of the incidents. Allen was found guilty of one count of indecent assault, committed in 1977 at the Sedbury home, and sentencing was delayed pending a
further trial [69]

2004 Mar 9 Allen then appeared at Bristol Crown Court between March 9 and 11, to face two indictments of indecent assault. These offences were alleged to have been committed in the Worcester area in 1994/5 [69]

2004 Mar 11 Allen was found guilty of both offences. He was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment in total for the three offences [69]

2004 Mar Sweatman Charged [58]

2004 Apr 6 Gloucestershire Police Operation Shogun Press Release download [69] Geoffrey John Ward Allen was employed as residential care worker at the home.
Allen, from Worcester, worked there from 1976 to 1984 and lived in staff accommodation on the premises.During a trial heard at Bristol Crown Court in October 2003 Allen  pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent assault on one victim, indecent assault and indecency with another victim and buggery and four separate indecent assaults on a further victim. All victims were under 16 at the time of the incidents.
Allen was found guilty of one count of indecent assault, committed in 1977 at the Sedbury home, and sentencing was delayed pending a further trial. Allen then appeared at Bristol Crown Court between March 9 and 11 2004 to face two indictments of indecent assault. These offences were alleged to have been committed in the Worcester area in 1994/5.
On March 11 Allen was found guilty of both offences. He was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment in total for the three offences.

2004 Apr Conviction of 66 year old man for indecent assault at Sedbury and 2 in Worcester area [60] Geoffrey Allen. The longest full-time investigation ever run by Gloucestershire Constabulary led to the convictions of 22 people. Reporting restrictions put in place at the beginning of the first trial meant details of none of the cases could be publicised until October 2004 [60]

2004 Apr [Original source unknown] Paedophile teacher Geoffrey Allen jailed [68]. Allen was convicted of one count of indecent assault committed at the Sedbury home and two counts of indecent assault committed in the Worcester area and was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment, and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.

2004 Oct Reporting restrictions put in place at the beginning of the first trial meant details of none of the cases could be publicised until October 2004 [60]

2005 Oct 7 BBC Schoolmaster’s sex crimes on boy [58] Gerald Rex Sweatman in Court and plead guilty to 2 indecent assaults

2005 Dec Source Unknown No jail term for child sex abuser Gerald Sweatman [61]  Sweatman (80) pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault on a 16-year-old boy between May 1960 and July 1961. He was given a one-year suspended sentence yesterday by a judge, who also ordered him to pay his victim, now aged 59, compensation of £4,000. Buggery and gross indecency charges were dropped after the guilty plea to indecent assault. The longest running child abuse inquiry ever carried out by the Gloucestershire Constabulary ended.

2005 Gloucestershire Police Chief Constables Report 2004-5 Operation Shogun Download [60] The longest full-time investigation ever run by Gloucestershire Constabulary led to the convictions of 22 people. Reporting restrictions put in place at the beginning of the
first trial meant details of none of the cases could be publicised until October 2004. A long running investigation into historic cases of child abuse at a former children’s home resulted in the conviction of a 66-year-old man in April 2004. Operation Shogun, a joint investigation between Gloucestershire Constabulary and Social Services, originally began in 1998.
The investigation centred on Sedbury Park School, in Gloucestershire, which was a
community home for adolescent boys, under the control of the Gloucestershire Local
Authority between 1973 and 1986. The convicted man was employed at the home, which
no longer exists.He was convicted of one count of indecent assault committed at the Sedbury home and two counts of indecent assault committed in the Worcester area and was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment.

2013 c. Mar Needleblog published Argus Story [67] and has some useful comments on article [59]

2013 c. Dec FOI Request Operation Shogun [70] [69] Senior Investigating Officers for the Operation were DI Peter Davis and DI Neil Kelly

2015 Sept WhatDoTheyKnow CathyFox FOI Operation Shogun to Gloucestershire County Council [71]

Anyone who has information on a John B McCreadie, I would be grateful. He was headmaster between 1977 and 1981 but he may have been at the school as headmaster or other master for longer. I would like to know any information about him at the school or the rest of his career.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.  National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [C]  and Havoca [D]. Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog. Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.

Appendix 1

Gloucestershire Police Press Release [69]

April 6 2004
A long running investigation into historic cases of child abuse at a
former children’s home has resulted in the conviction of a 66-year old
man.
Operation Shogun – a joint investigation between Gloucestershire
Constabulary and Social Services – originally began in 1998.
The investigation centred on Sedbury Park School, at Sedbury, in
Gloucestershire, which was a community home under the control of
the Gloucestershire Local Authority between 1973 and 1986.
The home, which no longer exists (the building now houses a nursing
home for the elderly which is entirely unconnected with the
investigation), catered for up to 85 adolescent boys between the
ages of 13 and 16 who were referred by local authorities throughout
the South West.
The convicted man – 66-year-old Geoffrey John Ward Allen – was
employed as residential care worker at the home.
Allen, from Worcester, worked there from 1976 to 1984 and lived in
staff accommodation on the premises.
During a trial heard at Bristol Crown Court in October 2003 Allen
pleaded not guilty to one count of indecent assault on one victim,
indecent assault and indecency with another victim and buggery and
four separate indecent assaults on a further victim. All victims were
under 16 at the time of the incidents.
Allen was found guilty of one count of indecent assault, committed in
1977 at the Sedbury home, and sentencing was delayed pending a
further trial.
Allen then appeared at Bristol Crown Court between March 9 and 11
2004 to face two indictments of indecent assault. These offences
were alleged to have been committed in the Worcester area in
1994/5.
On March 11 Allen was found guilty of both offences. He was
sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment in total for the
three offences.
Details of the case have not been publicised until now due to
reporting restrictions imposed at Bristol Crown Court, which have
now been lifted.
DCI Pete Davis said, who led the investigation, said: “Operation
Shogun has been one of the longest running enquiries mounted by
Gloucestershire Constabulary, involving methodical and detailed
investigations into offences committed up to thirty years ago.
“The commitment of my team and our partner agencies does
everyone great credit and I hope the outcome will be of comfort to
the victims of such abuse.”
ENDS
Note to editors: This press release was issued by Kate Nelmes,
Senior Press Officer, Gloucestershire Constabulary

Links

[58] 2005 Oct 7 BBC Schoolmaster’s sex crimes on boy http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/gloucestershire/4320298.stm Gerald Rex Sweatman Court for serious sexual Assault

[59] 2002 Jul 22 Needleblog School sex trial may be transferred to Bristol https://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/operation-greenlight/south-west-england/gloucestershire/sedbury-park-school-for-boys/ Geoffrey Allen is a former teacher

[60] Gloucestershire Police Chief Constables Report 2004-5 Page 17 Operation Shogun Download https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CCoQFjACahUKEwj4zvOmy4_IAhULWRoKHexhB4I&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gloucestershire.police.uk%2Fmedia%2F1242%2Fchief-constables-annual-report-2004-2005.pdf&usg=AFQjCNEVwUDfugkxxHN42_Zn4UEICfLVBA&cad=rja

[61] 2005 Dec Source Unknown No jail term for child sex abuser The original source is unknown but there is an unattributed copy here http://theukdatabase.com/2012/08/23/gerald-sweatman-yatechepstow/ Gerald Sweatman A retired school housemaster from Yate who admitted sexually abusing one of his teenage boy pupils at Sedbury Park School 45 years ago has escaped a prison term.

[62] National Archives Correspondence and related papers concerning the management of Sedbury Park School,… http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/rd/e6c21b04-3f71-487a-adf8-e126149c3fa1

[63] see [70] Operation Shogun https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/operation_shogun#incoming-470932

[64] 1981 Education Authorities Annunal 1981 via @snowfaked Mr J B McCreadie appears t0 have been Headmaster of Sedbury Park School, Chepstow around  https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vEocAQAAMAAJ&q=”Sedbury+Park+School,+Chepstow,+Gwent,+NP6+7EY.+Chepstow+3284/5+Headmaster:+J.+McCreadie”&dq=”Sedbury+Park+School,+Chepstow,+Gwent,+NP6+7EY.+Chepstow+3284/5+Headmaster:+J.+McCreadie”&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAGoVChMI4ICwzMOPyAIVCVUaCh1a3QE3

[65] 1977 The Association, 1977 – Social service via @snowfaked Mr Mr J B McCreadie appears to be Headmaster inearly 1977 https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-3kiAQAAMAAJ&q=”Mr+J+B+McCreadie,+Sedbury+Park+School,+Chepstow”&dq=”Mr+J+B+McCreadie,+Sedbury+Park+School,+Chepstow”&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAGoVChMI6N_dueKPyAIVCV0aCh2fFwYI

[66]

[67] 2002 Jul 22 The Argus School sex trial may be transferred to Bristol http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/7694399.print/

[68] 2004 April Original Source unknown Paedophile teacher Geoffrey Allen jailed http://theukdatabase.com/2012/08/23/geoffrey-allen-worcesterchepstow/

[69] 2013 What Do They Know FOI Request Gloucestershire Police Press Release download https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/189464/response/470932/attach/4/Press%20Release.pdf

[70] 2013 WhatDoTheyKnow Operation Shogun https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/189464/response/470932/attach/3/Response%205090.pdf the Senior Investigating Officers for the Operation were DI Peter Davis and DI Neil Kelly

[71] 2015 Sept WhatDoTheyKnow CathyFox FOI Operation Shogun to Gloucestershire County Council https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/operation_shogun_sedbury_park_sc

[72] 2002 Jul 17  Western Mail via the Free Library Former care worker in court on sex charges; GLOUCESTER: Magistrates send case to Crown Court. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Former+care+worker+in+court+on+sex+charges%3B+GLOUCESTER%3A+Magistrates…-a089141103

[73] 2002 Jul 17 Community Care Former care worker in court on sex
charges http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2002/07/17/a-summary-of-social-care-stories-from-the-main-newspapers-4/

[74] 2014 Mar 15 The Press York  Tribute to former head teacher John McCreadie, of Fulford http://m.yorkpress.co.uk/news/11079963.Tribute_to_former_head_teacher/ A FORMER head teacher from York has died after a year-long battle with cancer, aged 82. John McCreadie, of Fulford, passed away peacefully at The Beaumont Home in Stamford Bridge. He is survived by his wife Ann, three sons, Andrew, Douglas and Marcus, brother Terence, granddaughters Elizabeth, Fiona and Emily, grandsons Matthew and Alex and great-grandsons William and Edward. Mr McCreadie was head of The Royal Philanthropic Society School in Redhill, Surrey and later at Sedbury Park, Gloucestershire, but he also served as deputy director for social services for Gloucestershire County Council. His family said he would always by remembered for his fierce intelligence, quick wit and larger than life presence. “A devout Catholic, John’s strong faith sustained him throughout his life and provided immeasurable comfort toward the end of his journey,” his family said. The funeral is at 10.30am on Wednesday at St George’s RC Church in Peel Street, York.

[75]  2013 Chepstow and District Rotary Club Golden Jubilee Service above Self pdf download http://t.co/oQ3C2aOlEy  In 1979 year Rotarian John McCreadie travelled to the Rotary Club of AltenkirchenHackenburg, Germany to discuss with them the possibility of twinning.

[76]

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html

[B] NAPAC http://www.napac.org.uk/

[C] One in Four http://www.oneinfour.org.uk/

[D] Havoca http://www.havoca.org/HAVOCA_home.htm

[E] SurvivorsJustice Triggers post http://survivorsjustice.com/2014/02/26/triggers-what-are-they-and-how-do-we-work-through-them/

[F] SurvivorsJustice Blog http://survivorsjustice.com/

[G] Jim Hopper Mindfulness http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/

[H] Jim Hopper Meditation http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/#cultivate

This is all written in good faith but if there is anything that needs to be corrected please email cathyfox@bigfoot.com

cathyfox the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free

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About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
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10 Responses to Sedbury Park School Child Abuse and Timeline

  1. Richard martin says:

    Hi Cathy I was at sedbury park from 1983-1986 I was questioned by police officers regarding sexual abuse to which I can say never happened to me I was however abused mentally and physically being held aggressively and shouted at directly in my ear however none of this was ever of intereSt to thepolice but never mind

  2. Thanks Richard, it is a shame the police do little on physical and mental abuse. If you can remember any names of abusers or police let me know sedburypark@cathyfox.33mail.com or feel free to tell more of your story here

  3. Hi Cathy
    I was in Sedbury from 1970-73
    I wasn’t sexually abused but physically l had many a punching from the masters there for no reason l could understand.

  4. Barry Dobson says:

    Hi Cathy my name is Barry Dobson i was at Sedbury Park school myself and i now live in Ireland the Police came to see me twice in Ireland i went thru hell at that school Mentally and Physically beaten by my teachers and the headmaster i was going to sue the school and the headmaster found out about this and DRAGGED me and marched me of to the middle of the of the assembly room/gym/old barn shed they called a gym and called every house masters teachers and all the boys into the gym and shouted at the top of his voice this boy meaning me want to sue the school i had some very bad beating from my music teacher a MR NORMAN GRIFFITHS the police said there was nothing they could do about him after the police left i broke down and cried like a baby bring back all that i went through i was there in 1975/6—-1979 i was there when J.Alan was there he was one of the housemaster next to my house my Brother was in his house still to this day it upsets me

  5. Hi Barry, sorry i have corrected the email address i will write to you

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