Alleged victims of historical sexual abuse at Tettenhall College have called for a public inquiry

Abuse probe call from Tettenhall College ‘sexual abuse victims’

Alleged victims of historical sexual abuse at Tettenhall College have called for a public inquiry into exploitation at the school.
Mark Shelton and Andrew Wood, victims of historical sex abuse at Tettenhall College
Alleged victims Mark Shelton and Andrew Wood, victims of historical sex abuse at Tettenhall College
Andrew Wood, aged 56, and Mark Shelton, 57, went to the independent boys’ school in the early 70s and accuse the former lower school headmaster Colin Cope – now 83 – of sexually abusing them.
West Midlands Police officers are currently reviewing secretly-recorded video footage that shows Mr Cope joking and reciting poetry at a public talk just eight months after the court case against him in 2009 was halted because he was ‘too ill’.
Mr Wood and Mr Shelton hope a public inquiry would help make public the extent of alleged abuse at the school.
Mr Wood, of Hereford, said: “I appreciate the school is not the same place now as it was then – but what we want is for the truth to be made public and no find out what was known and by who. I want an admission from Tettenhall College and an apology.”
Mr Shelton, of Shifnal, said: “I think this is needed to restore credibility and bring justice to our town.”
WITH STORY Colin Cope at Shrewbury Magistrates Court. PIC PETER SHAH. (8119423)
Colin Cope
The pair, who have waived their right to anonymity, are eagerly waiting to hear from West Midlands Police whether to case will be passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service to be considered.
But the feel an inquiry may be their last resort to get justice.
Cope, who now lives in an 18th century National Trust property in Sturminster Marshall, Dorset, was charged with 11 sexual offences against children aged 11 to 13.
But a jury at Shrewsbury Crown Court never got to hear any of the evidence because Judge Robin Onions stayed the case on Cope’s health grounds and ruled the long passage of time – more than 35 years – since the offences were said to have taken place, created difficulties for the defendant to challenge the prosecution case.
Cope denied any wrongdoing.
Wolverhampton South West MP Paul Uppal said he would back alleged victims in their attempts so they are ‘not denied justice’.
He said: “I think the allegations against Mr Cope are serious and very troubling.
“If he’s well enough to stand trial then he should. I think it is right the footage is being reviewed.
“The most important thing here is that the victims are not denied justice and outside the government’s national inquiry into child sex exploitation I would support them in calling for a local public inquiry which would have powers to compel people to give evidence.”
The Express & Star previously revealed that the allegations are likely to be looked at by the independent child sex abuse inquiry set up by the Government.
Tettenhall College paid £129,000 to settle civil action by five former pupils, including Mr Wood and Mr Shelton.
They received payments ranging from £5,000 to £60,000 when they agreed to settle the claim against the school. Liability was not admitted by the school. The school stresses the allegations date back more than 40 years.
In a statement the school said: “We would like to add that Tettenhall College would fully cooperate with any further inquiries arising.”

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