British lawmaker Cyril Smith abused boys in care homes
Liberal lawmaker and rumoured paedophile Cyril Smith preyed on boys in care homes
British police have acknowledged that Cyril Smith, a politician who died two years ago, had physically and sexually abused young boys in care homes in the 1960s.
Smith, whose 178kg frame and outspoken opinions made him a colourful character in parliament for the Liberals and then Liberal Democrats, faced rumours of paedophilia throughout his career, but he was never prosecuted.
Both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that if Smith had faced the same allegations today he would be prosecuted.
Smith was secretary of the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association in northwest England and was accused of abusing vulnerable youngsters.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "The force is now publicly acknowledging that young boys were victims of Smith.
"Three separate files regarding Sir Cyril Smith's actions were passed to first the director of public prosecutions and the Crown Prosecution Service, although on each occasion no prosecution was pursued."
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood of Greater Manchester Police said a review of those decisions had found there was "overwhelming evidence" against Smith.
Although there is no indication of a link, the revelation comes as police investigate 450 claims of abuse of mainly young girls by Jimmy Savile, a BBC radio and TV presenter in the 1970s and 1980s. Savile died last year aged 84 without facing prosecution.
Police have arrested four men in connection with the Savile investigation, including former glam rock star Gary Glitter.