County Council looking into paedophile ring claims

By Rob George Monday 28 July 2014 Updated: 31/07 01:17

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A FORMER director of social services at the defunct Hereford and Worcester County Council will be questioned on his allegations a powerful paedophile ring operated in the county.

David Tombs has been asked to give evidence at the next meeting of Worcestershire County Council's Overview, Scrutiny and Performance Board following concerns from members.

Board chairman Coun Richard Udall made the request following comments in the national media from Mr Tombs, who worked for the authority for 20 years until 1994, regarding his concerns over child protection during the 1990s.

Mr Tombs said following the arrest of former consultant to the National Children’s Bureau and convicted Evesham paedophile Peter Righton, he told the Department of Health he believed a paedophilic network had been in operation in Whitehall, but claimed these warnings had been ignored.

Righton, who died in 2007, was a social work expert and the founder of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), before he was convicted of importing child pornography in 1992.

Members of the Scrutiny Board, at the request of Coun Udall have invited both Mr Tombs and the current Worcestershire Director of Children's Services Gail Quinton to give evidence on September 17.

“Members from across the political spectrum are concerned about what happened in the past and want to ensure no cover-up occurred in Worcestershire,” Coun Udall said.

“If Mr Tombs is willing to share his concerns with us we will be able to have a better understanding about what happened, when it happened and more importantly who knew about it.

“We believe this to be a major concern to the public, we need to know what information is known and no perpetrators have been protected by an establishment cover up in Worcestershire".

“Hereford and Worcester County Council has ceased to exist, but as a successor authority members of the County Council need to know the facts and on behalf of a concerned public need to ask the questions and seek assurances."

IN a statement, Worcestershire County Council, said:

"As a result of recent press coverage we have received some queries regarding historical child protection allegations relating to Peter Righton.

"These queries relate to historic multi-agency abuse investigations assisted by the former Hereford and Worcester County Council which existed until local government reorganisation on 1 April 1998.

"In 1992 concerns came to light about Peter Righton, a teacher who worked at a number of residential schools across the country.

"Mr Righton had addresses in London and Evesham but he was not employed by Hereford and Worcester County Council.

"It is a matter of public record that his home was raided and boxes of letters, diaries and photographs were removed by the police. Peter Righton was subsequently convicted of child pornography offences.

"We understand that Child Protection officers, employed by the then Hereford and Worcester County Council, took part in a joint investigation with the police, covering several counties.

"The director of social services for Hereford and Worcester County Council at that time, David Tombs, was involved in co-coordinating the council element of that investigation and the lead Child Protection Officer was Peter McKelvie.

"Hereford and Worcester County Council shared information from the investigation with the Social Services Inspectorate.

"From the information on record, there is no evidence of any involvement of anyone linked to Herefordshire Council or Worcestershire County Council and we are not aware of anyone connected with either Council implicated in this investigation."

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