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Leader of Rochdale Council said he 'was never told' about sex abuse

Knowl View residential school Credit: ITV Granada

The leader of Rochdale Council has dismissed claims he knew about allegations of child sexual abuse in the early 90s, insisting his colleague "is lying".

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is examining how the late MP Cyril Smith and others were able to target youngsters at institutions in the town over several decades.

It has heard how serious allegations of sexual abuse involving children at Knowl View School were known about by senior officials within the council.

Richard Farnell, who regained the position of Labour council leader in 2014 after a gap of 22 years, told the inquiry he was never informed of the scandal during his first stint in office between 1986 and 1992.

The inquiry heard how evidence about abuse at Knowl View mounted from September 1990, when a paedophile had been let in and sexually abused at least one boy.

Mr Farnell said:

I was not informed of events at Knowl View during my time as leader."

– Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Council

Mr Farnell would not take any personal responsibility for the suffering of boys at a school for which his council had responsibility, blaming council officers for failing to tell him.

The council should accept responsibility for failings that happened in Knowl View, and individuals must take responsibilities for their own actions," he said.

"I bitterly regret that the senior officers of the council never once approached me to brief me about these matters."

– Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Council


Family of man killed in Rochdale pay tribute to him

Credit: Handout

The family of 59-year-old Keith Maden who died following an assault in Rochdale Town Centre on Friday 29 September 2017, have paid tribute to him.

Keith was a lovable, friendly character with a great sense of humour. He grew up and lived most of his life in Littleborough and knew many people in the village, but led a simple life and never asked for much from anyone. After suffering a stroke last year Keith had just started to rebuild his life and go out with friends again.

He was loved and supported by his Mum, brothers and sisters, who are all heartbroken at losing him too soon and in such tragic circumstances.

– Family statement


'It's like my brother's life never mattered' family offer reward to help find Oldham teenager's killer

Tommy's brother Kyle says it's as if his brother's life 'never mattered' Credit: Men Media

The family of a teenager murdered when he was celebrating his birthday two years ago are offering a £10,000 reward in a bid to find crucial witnesses.

Tommy Bilton, who was 19, was stabbed to death in the early hours after a fight outside a house party in Oldham.

A man was put on trial for his murder but cleared.

Tommy's family are appealing for help to find his killer Credit: Men media

Tommy's family say they will never give up on trying to find his killer. They are using the lion’s share of a criminal compensation payment they received to appeal for witnesses who can help police solve the case.

Describing the payment - which is paid out by the government to blameless victims of violent crime - as ‘blood money’ his family say they want the award put to a good use.

The cash we got in compensation means nothing to us, it’s blood money. We don’t want to touch it, but use it to get justice. How can no one have seen Tommy being stabbed. It was murder someone put a knife into my son. There must have been someone who saw something.

There are lots of flats where it happened. But people are scared, they won’t come forward. It is like he never existed, but he was a very popular lad. I need someone to come forward.

When they took him in the ambulance and he was freezing cold. I held his hand and said to him ‘don’t leave us Tom we all love you’. They told us he was bleeding from inside and his last chance was a blood transfusion. It was like a nightmare and we still wake up every morning thinking of him, there is no escape.

– Tommy's mother Mandy
Tommy, was knifed outside a house party on August 15th 2015. Credit: Men media

Tommy is survived by three brothers, Corran, 19, Kyle, 26, Johnathan, 31, and sister Holly, 29.

At Manchester Crown Court last year Matthew Stubbs, 24, of Horsedge Road, Oldham, was found guilty of GBH with intent, after stabbing Tommy’s friend, Simon Dalton, 24, in the back. But he was cleared of murdering Tommy, who was stabbed in the groin.

Two other men, who admitted affray, were sentenced for taking part in the brawl which claimed Tommy’s life - but a judge concluded neither had anything to do with Tommy’s death.

The court was told ‘Bad blood’ between two groups of young people led to violence breaking outside Stott House, on the Eldon Street Estate.

Tommy had gone out to celebrate his birthday, which had been on August 12th.

Kyle Bilton: Credit: Men Media

Kyle said: “It feels like his life never mattered. Someone took his life and no one cares anymore. He was full of life, he had good mates, a decent job.

“We will get justice. We will never give up on him. He’s my brother, and he would have done the same for me.”

A spokeswoman for GMP said: “We would ask anyone with information about this case to call using the 101 number or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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