Arrests in child abuse scandal

St Francis Boys' Home in Shefford
St Francis Boys' Home in Shefford

Two men have been arrested and a further two people interviewed in connection with an on-going investigation into alleged child abuse.

The alleged physical and sexual abuse took place at St Francis’ Boys’ Home in Shefford during the 1960s and 1970s.

A 72-year-old man from Bedford was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting four children, while a 79-year-old man from Mundford, Norfolk, was arrested on suspicion of six sexual and 14 physical assaults on children at the home.

Both have been bailed until April.

A 68-year-old man was voluntarily interviewed under caution for sexual assault, enquiries are on-going.

A 78-year-old woman from Shefford was interviewed under caution for sexual assault. She has been released with no further action.

All four interviews took place in the last two weeks. The victims have been updated over the weekend.

In September Bedfordshire Police brought in retired detective chief inspector Mark Ross to head the investigation.

Many have said they were abused by priest Father John Ryan, who ran the home in the 1960s and died in 2008.

A man who was at the home between 1959 and 1968 said: “I don’t want to see a man go to jail for the rest of his life. I want to see something change so atrocities like this don’t happen in the future.

“Personally I want this all to go away at the end of this investigation so everyone can try and move on with their lives.”

So far detectives have spoken to more than 80 victims during the course of the investigation.

Further potential suspects have been identified and will be interviewed in due course.

At the conclusion of the interviews a report will be submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.