Broome House, Manchester
As part of Operation Cleopatra, Broome House care home in Didsbury Manchester was investigated by Greater Manchester Police. The Operation, which was launched in April 1997 looked into 66 care homes and investigated over 350 claims of abuse, a number of these complaints were made by children at the time but were ignored by the authorities.
The investigation discovered that some of the abuse that transpired in Broome House was perpetrated by Ronald Hall who worked as a former warden at Broome House. At his time of arrest in 2001 he was the Assistant Director of Manchester Social Services. For his part in the acts perpetrated at the care home, Ronald Hall was sentence to 11 years in jail, for 21 counts of sexual and physical abuse during his time as deputy at Broom House.
Another individual who worked at the care home, Ian Gray, received a 14-year prison sentence for serious sexual offences. A number of other men received lesser sentences for abuse, which including the taking of indecent pictures of children, before the final prosecution occurred in May 2004.
During their investigation, Greater Manchester Police took over 922 statements and heard hundreds of allegations as part of the inquiry. The men who received sentences did so, however, on the strength of evidence provided by a small number of victims.
Broome House was one of five institutions that were discovered to have been the sites for numerous occurrences of sexual abuse against the staff. The other sites were, Rosehill in Northenden, Mobberley Boys School in Knutsford, Ellerslie in Altrincham, Lynwood, and Seymour Road Children’s Home. In 2000 former residents of the homes were strongly urged by solicitors, Simpson Millar LLP, formerly Abney Garsden to join a group action against Manchester City Council.
In June 2001 the High Court at Manchester made a Group Litigation Order, at which time there were just 15 victims. At the time of the final hearing in March 2007, however, this figure has risen to 168. On average, the High Court awarded the victims compensation of £15,000 each, for the abuse they suffered and the lifelong effects it had upon them.
This figure was later described by partner Peter Garsden, the lead solicitor, as “pitiful”.