Top Scots school in abuse claims
of a powerful paedophile ring operating at a top Scottish military
school with links to the Royal Family have been passed to the Holyrood
inquiry into historical child abuse. LINK
Ministry of Defence investigating claims
The allegations centre on Queen Victoria
School in Dunblane LINK,
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 agencies”.
Glenn 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. LINK
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. LINK
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 with cash”.
Mr Harrison 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
“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 it.”
In one instance, Mr Harrison and his wife refused
to sit alongside Prince Andrew at a school dinner “in protest
at the many unheard voices and suffering of young boys”. LINK
The police 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 premises and interviewed by
Mr Harrison also reported his concerns to social
services, the NSPCC and the Scotland 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 Jim Wallace, now Baron Wallace of
Tankerness, agreed to raise the matter at Westminster. LINK
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 part”.
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 Inquiry.
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 Tom
Mr Minogue, a retired businessman from Dunfermline,
made a formal complaint to Central 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 Henderson.
“With each passing revelation, it adds more
credence to what he alleged in 1991.
“The stories 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 and Gordonstoun.
Alan Draper, 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.”
An MoD spokeswoman said: “These cases of historic
abuse are being dealt with and investigated via the appropriate agencies.
In advance of the completion of any investigations 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 cooperating
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 necessary.
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.
[Ed ~ As patron of
QVS, and having been made aware of the physical and sexual abuse of
pupils there, why did Prince Philip not: