Scots school in abuse claims
CLAIMS of a powerful
paedophile ring oper-ating at a top Scottish
military school with links to the Royal
Family have been passed to the Holyrood
inquiry into historical child abuse.
Ministry of Defence investigating claims
The allegations centre
Victoria School in Dunblane,
which has Prince
Philip as its patron and is funded by the
Ministry of Defence for the children of
Scots service personnel.
Last night, the Ministry
of Defence said the claims were being “investigated
via the appropriate
Harrison, a former housemaster at the boarding
school, first raised the alarm in 1991 when he wrote to parents
to warn them that their children were at risk.
He also reported his
concerns to the former Central
Scotland Police but says he was told the
school was covered by the Official Secrets Act
and therefore out of their jurisdiction.
His claims centred
on a supposed cabal of individuals known as the ‘Friends
of QVS’, which was said to include high profile
members of Scotland’s political and legal circles.
They apparently enjoyed
unfettered access to the school and would often take boys away for
the weekend, with the pupils returning “distressed but flush
later said: “They had to take their kilts and clean underwear
and I was not given a contact address. What may have gone
on at these parties was secret but some boys were very disturbed.
“I became disturbed,
too, by screams in the dorm at night, empty beds, rituals in dark
places and used, warm, filled condoms hurriedly abandoned. There
was fear throughout every age group and the teachers knew about
In one instance, Mr
Harrison and his wife refused to sit alongside
Andrew at a school dinner “in protest
at the many unheard voices and suffering of young boys”.
responded to his complaint by breaking down the door to his flat
and removing many of his personal papers, while he was escorted
from the school prem-ises and interviewed by detectives.
also reported his concerns to social services, the NSPCC and the
Scot-land Office, whose inspectors found evidence of bullying but
said other allegations had been “exaggerated”.
He moved to Shetland,
where he enjoyed a distinguished teaching career, and his new MP
Wallace, now Baron Wallace
of Tankerness, agreed to raise the matter at Westminster.
In 1993, Hansard
recorded a written response from QVS headmaster
Julian Hankinson to say that police
had “concluded there was no cause for further action on their
The story took a twist
with the Dunblane Massacre carried out
by Thomas Hamilton, whose links to Queen
Victoria School were established at the Cullen
In November 1996, Mr
Harrison wrote to The Shetland
Times to say: “I believe that, had my allegations
in 1991 been properly investigated, there is a strong possibility
that Hamilton would have been discovered.”
His claims still went
largely ignored until being picked up by Brian ‘Robbie
the Pict’ Robertson, who led the campaign against
Skye Bridge tolls, and justice campaigner
a retired businessman from Dunfermline, made a formal complaint
Scotland Police in November 2003.
He said: “Glenn
Harrison reported all this before anybody had any
suspicions about Thomas Hamilton, never
mind Nicholas Fairbairn or Robert
“With each passing
revelation, it adds more credence to what he alleged in 1991.
he told me were absolutely harrowing. I don’t know whether
boys were abused from that school but I do know Glenn
Harrison was absolutely convinced they were, and he
is a sincere, genuine and serious man.”
He added the so-called
‘Friends of QVS’ put forward
by Mr Harrison represented a “who’s
who of the Scottish TV news” in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The former housemaster
has now retired and left Scotland, telling friends he had “had
enough” of being thwarted in his attempts to secure justice.
However, a number of
individuals who may have been abused at Queen Victoria
School have come forward in recent years and the matter
has been referred to Susan O’Brien QC,
who will chair the Scottish Government inquiry.
The school, which began
admitting girls in 1996, is open to children of those who have served
or are serving in the Army, Navy or RAF.
It has been rocked
by a number of underage sex and drinking scandals over the years,
while two teachers were investigated by the police
in 2005 over allegations involving two female pupils.
A fiscal later ruled
no action could be taken as a new Holyrood
law designed to protect children in such circumstances had not been
in force at the time.
It is the latest boarding
school to be hit by historic abuse allegations, after Merchiston
Castle School, Fort Augustus Abbey School
of the In Care Abuse Survivors group, urged Ms O’Brien
QC to have the “courage” to investigate
claims involving high-profile Scottish establishment figures, “even
members of her own profession”.
He added: “It
is a question of how far she is going to be able to deal with it
without any interference.”
spokeswoman said: “These cases of historic abuse are being
dealt with and investigated via the appropriate agencies. In advance
of the completion of any investig-ations or the finalisation of
any inquiry, it would be inappropriate
to comment on any aspect of the allegations until a conclusion is
reached. The MoD is co-operating fully
with the investigations.”
Detective Chief Inspector
Elaine Galbraith, of the Police
Scotland Public Protection Unit,
said there were no current investigations into any persons connected
with Queen Victoria School but any previous
reports would be assessed and reviewed if necess-ary.
She added they were
committed to the investigation of all reports of sexual crime to
bring justice for victims of sexual abuse,
regardless of the passage of time and said: “I would encourage
anyone who may have been a victim, regardless of when that was,
to come forward, safe in the knowledge they will be taken seriously
and will always be dealt with professionally.”
A Scottish Government
spokeswoman said it will be for the inquiry
to consider all submitted evidence.