Liberal Democrat Icon Cyril Smith ‘Sexually Abused’ Boys during ‘Medicals’ at Rochdale Home
Cyril Smith: Sexual predator

Former Liberal MP Sir Cyril Smith did sexually abuse young boys, police have admitted.

Greater Manchester Police, which had opened investigations into allegations of sexual abuse against the late politician, has confirmed that he was a paedophile and child abuser.

Assistant chief constable Steve Heywood said: "The force is now publicly acknowledging that young boys were victims of physical and sexual abuse committed by Smith."

Smith was elected to parliament in 1972. Rumours of abuse followed him throughout his political career.

Although an investigation was carried out by Lancashire Police into claims that he sexually abused young boys at a care home in Rochdale in the 1970s, no charges were brought.

Heywood insisted that if Smith had been accused today we would have faced jail.

"Having reviewed those decisions, we believe that if the same evidence was presented to the CPS today there would have been a very realistic prospect that Smith would have been charged with a number of indecent assaults, and that the case would have been brought to trial."

Earlier in November, Barry Fitton accused Smith of abusing him during the 1970s, when he was just 15.

"He told me to take my trousers and pants down. He felt my thighs and testicles from both front and back. He held my testicles and asked me to cough." Fitton said.

Police are encouraging other potential victims to contact them.

"It is important for those victims who were abused by Smith that we publicly acknowledge the suffering they endured," said Heywood.

"Although Smith cannot be charged or convicted posthumously, from the overwhelming evidence we have it is right and proper we should publicly recognise that young boys were sexually and physically abused and we will offer them as much support as they need should they wish to speak to us."