Investigation launched into historic sexual abuse at school near Harborough, once attended by Earl Spencer

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An investigation has been launched into historic sexual abuse at school just outside Market Harborough, once attended by Earl Spencer.

Northamptonshire Police has launched the criminal investigation into Maidwell Hall School after it carried out preliminary enquiries into allegations of abuse which are said to have taken place in the 1970s. The school is an independent boarding and day school for boys and girls aged 4 to 13.

Princess Diana’s brother claimed in his memoir published earlier this year that he had suffered physical and sexual abuse at the independent boarding school in the 1970s.

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A police spokeswoman said: “We are in the early stages of investigating a number of non-recent allegations of sexual abuse at Maidwell Hall School.

“Northamptonshire Police takes all allegations of abuse very seriously and where reports are made to us, we will pursue all available lines of enquiry to help bring perpetrators to justice.

“We encourage anyone who has suffered abuse anywhere in our county, at any time, to contact us.”

Maidwell Hall School previously issued a statement saying it was “sobering to read about the experiences Charles Spencer, and some of his fellow alumni, had at the school, and we are sorry that was their experience.

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“It is difficult to read about practices which were, sadly, sometimes believed to be normal and acceptable at that time. Within education today, almost every facet of school life has evolved significantly since the 1970s. At the heart of the changes is the safeguarding of children, and promotion of their welfare.

“Although we have not directly received any claims from ex-pupils, considering what has been reported, the school has followed the statutory process and made a referral to the Local Authority Designated Officer. We would encourage anyone with similar experiences to come forward.”

The force reminded the public that anyone reporting sexual abuse has a lifelong right to anonymity.

Visit northants.police.uk or ring 101 to report recent or non-recent sexual abuse.

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Those living in Northamptonshire who are victims of crime can receive free, confidential, support and advice, regardless of whether they have spoken to police,by visiting www.voicenorthants.org or calling 0300 303 1965.