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Campaigners child abusers should be "looking over their shoulder"

Campaigners child abusers should be "looking over their shoulder"

Campaigners investigating decades of horrific abuse in UK children's homes have spoken to hundreds of victims and say they have so far identified 33 alleged paedophiles.

The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association (SOSA) plans to submit its evidence on crimes in children's homes in Lambeth, south London, over three-and-a-half decades from 1950 to police and a public inquiry team in the spring.

One of the group's founders, Raymond Stevenson, said: "We have spoken to lots of people and the story we hear is worse than any nightmare."

The campaigners have released a single and music video aiming to encourage more victims to come forward.

Mr Stevenson said some of the perpetrators have since died, but those still living will be "looking over their shoulder".

He said: "They have to live an uncomfortable life from now on. We know they are going to be looking over their shoulder, and this is all part of them paying for what they've done. It is about living in the world we were living in, and that's a world of fear."

He believes the abusers the team has identified were linked to another paedophile ring that operated in Lambeth between the 1980s and early 2000s, which allegedly included an MP.

Former detective Clive Driscoll, who was an officer for 35 years, believes he was moved out of his job after raising concerns about that group of abusers.

He said: "The only thing that everybody here is asking for is the truth. There's no political agenda here. I want to be here to see that justice prevails because it's 35 years of my life and I wouldn't want to think that was wasted."

Streatham Labour MP Chuka Umunna said the children were tortured and the alleged abusers should feel the full weight of the law.

"It was hell. What I have heard amounts to nothing more than torture. It was torture that was going on at the time, torture of young defenceless people," he said.

"It's absolutely essential that those who are still alive who perpetrated these acts feel the strong arm of the law come down on them as soon as we see this report released by the association."

It is predicted that the Goddard Inquiry, a massive public probe into historical child abuse, will generate 30,000 new police cases and Mr Umunna wants separate funding to tackle the fallout, as well as a compensation pot for victims.

Addressing survivors at the video launch in central London, he added: "It isn't just justice that you want. You're living with this every day, it has affected your lives, it has affected your ability to get a job, it has affected your mental health, and what you deserve is proper redress, proper compensation."

Money raised by sales of the single, called Don't Touch It, It's Mine, will be used to help SOSA track down more victims.

The group is also aiming to get a 100-year secrecy order placed on details of the death of 15-year-old Peter Davis lifted.

The teenager was found hanged in 1977 and campaigners believe he was murdered after giving evidence in a rape trial two years earlier.