Victim breaks 20-year silence over sex abuse only to be told he’d imagined it

Simon Whitter reported his years of trauma but was told his children’s home had never existed

A brave victim broke his 20-year silence over sex abuse he suffered as a child – only to be told by authorities that he’d imagined it.
Simon Whitter, 40, was removed from his violent home by social services at the age of 12.
He was sent to Burton House children’s home in Manchester in 1986. There he was subjected to ritual sex abuse at the government-run home for boys.
Yet when in 2012 he finally reported his years of trauma, Manchester City Council claimed Burton House had never even existed.
In a shocking attempt to whitewash Simon’s history, they claimed documents had gone missing and there was no record of where he had lived. Only later did they admit their mistake and allow him to file for compensation.
Simon’s story is just one example of the hurdles that have had to be overcome by more than 400 victims of abuse in Manchester’s children’s homes.
The latest blow has been a High Court ruling that remaining victims must come forward in the next seven weeks or lose any chance of compensation.
This week Simon and another victim Paul Tyler, 49, returned to their children’s homes in a bid to encourage others to find justice.
Dad-of-three Simon said: “It took me over 20 years before I was ready to speak out and then they tried to silence me.
“Putting a time limit on when victims can come forward is just disgusting. What if they’re not ready? You could have put a gun to my head and I wouldn’t have spoken five years ago.”
Claims of child abuse centre on three main homes run by the City Council – Rose Hill in Northenden, Broome House in Didsbury and Mobberley Boys in Knutsford. A total of 275 cases have so far been settled by Abney Garsden Solicitors for over £2million since the action started in 1997.
Several members of social services have been jailed for their involvement.
Among them was Ronald Hall, who rose to assistant director of social services.
He was jailed in 2001 for 11 years for the sexual and physical abuse of children at Broome House.
Simon says he was forced to perform sex acts from the age of 12. He says the effects of the abuse led him on a trail of destruction which culminated in a sixmonth prison sentence for alcoholrelated offences.
“I had been forced to do things no child should endure and I know so many other people have been through the same thing,” he said. “The City Council just want to stop them coming forward to save money. It’s disgusting.”
Dad-of-three Paul was another victim.
This week he returned to the Rose Hill home. He recalled: “The boy in the bunk next to mine told me to do as the staff said and I’d be fine. I didn’t know what he meant but soon found out. It has affected my whole life. I can’t get rid of the memories.”
A Manchester City Council spokesman said: “Cases within this group action are the subject of ongoing litigation and therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment.”

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