Coventry & Warwickshire

Inquiry into former Coventry children's home abuse

Alan Todd Kenneth Owen Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Alan Todd, left, and Kenneth Owen were convicted for carrying out "grotesque" abuse on children in their care in the 1980s

An inquiry into historical abuse at a former city council-run children's home in Coventry has been announced.

Kenneth Owen and Alan Todd, both 70, who worked at Wisteria Lodge in the 1980s, were jailed in February.

Judge Alan Parker said the pair carried out "grotesque" abuse of children at the home.

The city's Safeguarding Children Board will examine why complaints about the home, which has been knocked down, were not acted upon for many years.

Board chair Janet Mokades said: "This is not an inquiry that anyone has told us we have to do.

"We're doing it because it is the right thing to do, because children who are now adults deserve it - and because it will help us to make things safe."

Reaction to Wisteria Lodge inquiry and news from Coventry

Image caption Several people who had stayed at the home came forward to police and reported abuse

Todd, from Stretton-under-Fosse in Warwickshire, was jailed for eight years and two months after being convicted of six indecent assault and five cruelty charges.

Owen, from Dickon Hill Road in Boston in Lincolnshire, was given a prison sentence of four years and four months after being found guilty of five cruelty charges.

A Coventry City Council spokesman has previously apologised to the victims.

"These crimes happened a number of years ago and the safeguards we have in place now make it a priority for the voice of the child or young person to be heard," they said.

Image caption Wisteria Lodge has since been demolished

West Midlands Police has previously admitted it did not properly investigate a victim's account of sex abuse at children's homes.

It meant two alleged perpetrators died before they could be prosecuted.

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Media caption"Sarah" lived at Wisteria Lodge in the 1980s

The force has upheld a complaint made by the victim, who has asked to be called Sarah, and has apologised. It has said at least one would have been charged.

The victim has said the abuse at homes in Coventry in the 1980s was "horrendous", but added she was encouraged by the change in police investigations.

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