13 Days Remaining

Friday 3rd
posted by Paddy McGuffin in Britain

ALLEGATIONS that a former colleague of the Archbishop of Canterbury committed serious physical abuse at a holiday camp for teenage boys have led to police to appeal for possible victims to come forward.

A series of accusations have been levelled against John Smyth, a former leader at the Iwerne camp, which had close links with the Church of England and where Justin Welby, now head of the Church, worked as a dormitory officer in the late 1970s.

Mr Welby has denied knowing of the allegations after the Church issued an apology over its handling of the claims.

The allegations came to light through a Channel 4 News investigation into the prominent QC and part-time judge, who now lives in South Africa.

The Iwerne Trust, which oversaw the Christian camps, was informed of the allegations and compiled a report as early as 1982 but failed to tell police, Channel 4 News said.

Without naming Mr Smyth, Hampshire Police confirmed they are “investigating allegations of non-recent physical abuse involving a senior figure at the Iwerne Trust.

“We have contacted those victims whose information has been provided to us and we would encourage anyone else with any information about these events to contact our dedicated investigation team via 101, quoting Op Cubic.”

When asked about the accusations, Mr Smyth refused to comment. Speaking on LBC Radio yesterday, Mr Welby said he had been “completely unaware” of any allegations when he worked at the camp.

He said: “I was at that particular camp in the mid-70s. I was young then — 19 to 21 or 22. “I never heard anything at all, at any point.”