+quot;Satan Case+quot; parents in clear, say police Daily Mail, 14.09.90 page 2 PARENTS of

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"Satan Case" parents in clear, say police Daily Mail, 14.09.90 page 2 PARENTS of the 17 children in the Rochdale "Satanic rituals" inquiry will not be prosecuted, police said last night. A lengthy investigation had failed to produce evidence to justify criminal proceedings, said Greater Manchester Chief Constable James Anderton. His statement brought renewed calls for all the children, aged between 2 and 12, to be returned from care to their homes. Mr Anderton said that inquiries were still continuing into the cases of three youngsters in the town who were taken from home by the authorities a week ago. "No decision can be taken on this particular aspect," he said. All 20 children have been made wards of court, although five have been allowed to return home to their parents. Many of the other 15 have not been seen by their parents for up to six months. Mr Anderton said that decisions about the future of 17 youngsters rested with Rochdale's social services department. The 17 were taken into care from their homes in a joint police-social services dawn swoop on dates between March and June this year. The announcement that there was insufficient evidence to support criminal proceedings was welcomed by Mr Peter Thomson a member of Rochdale Council's social services committee. "I have never believed there was anything that was remotely criminal," said Mr Thomson, who has been campaigning on behalf of the parents. "It has all been a horrendous mistake. "The excuse that officials have been hiding behind was always that police investigations were continuing. They can't say that any more. "The children should be returned home and the whole mumbo-jumbo should be stopped." Mr Thomson claimed that the children had witnessed horror movies and had confused fiction of the screen with what they believed to be real-life experiences. He said: "The children were never involved in witchcraft or Satanism. It has all been a ghastly mistake. The families in my judgement were totally incapable of any of the things which were alleged. No way were they followers of a Satanic cult." The children were made wards of court after a six year old boy told social workers of babies being stabbed, sheep being mutilated in occult ceremonies, and children being drugged and caged. Rochdales social services director Gordon Littlemore had claimed in a statement: "We are dealing with allegations of emotional abuse, degredation, humiliation, the administration of drugs and exposure to acts of violence." He was due at a meetings with his social services committee members tonight to explain why he took the steps he did. In his statement, Mr Anderton refered to two other investigations into alleged child abuse - one in Manchester involving thirteen children and the other in Salford involving three. He said a full investigation had taken place into the Manchester allegations as a result of which two men had been charged with alleged criminal offenses. One had allegedly committed offenses against a woman. The other man had allegedly carried out a number of indecent assaults against children. Both men had appeared in court, but the proceedings had been discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service. In the Salford inquiry, he said, one man had been charged with a number of alleged offenses against children. Mr Anderton said that he had been remanded in custody to Strangeways prison, but had later died as a result of injuries received in the April 1 riot. There was no evidence to suggest that the Rochdale, Manchester and Salford incidents were connected in any way.


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