Victims express regret after alleged child abuser from Hampshire dies

ACCUSERS of a British barrister who allegedly abused boys at Christian camps have spoken of their regret that he will not face justice after he died in South Africa.

Tuesday, 14th August 2018, 10:49 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 3:22 am

According to a family statement, John Smyth QC suffered a sudden heart attack and died on Sunday in Cape Town at the age of 77.

Police had been planning on questioning him over allegations that he beat children in the 1970s and 1980s while he was a leader at the Iwerne Trust camps, where he was a colleague of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Officers in Hampshire had passed a preliminary file to the CPS and were preparing to ask him to return voluntarily to the UK for questioning.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Among the up 22 men to accuse Mr Smyth is Andrew Morse, who said he was subjected to after-prayer beatings as a boy between 1978 and 1982.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said: '˜I would have forgiven Smyth. I deeply regret that I never had the chance to tell him so.

'˜I also regret that I'll never get to see him brought to justice. Doing so would have completed my circle of abuse.

'˜I hope instead to see a change in the law: the introduction of mandatory reporting, so that anyone who suspects abuse is obliged to inform the authorities.

'˜In my case it would have made all the difference. I hope I live to see the day it will do so for others.'

Other accusers levelled some blame at the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for failing to expose the abuse.

Mr Welby, who worked as a dormitory officer on camps in the late 1970s, insisted he was  unaware of the allegations at the time.

Hampshire Constabulary confirmed a preliminary file had been sent to the CPS requesting advice and that they were making arrangements for Mr Smyth to return to the UK for interview on a '˜voluntary basis'.