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Kesgrave: Former school care worker Kenneth Wheatley, who was found dead in Barnsley after being questioned over abuse claims, was a convicted paedophile

09:19 13 May 2014

Kesgrave Hall School in 1988

Kesgrave Hall School in 1988

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A 62-year-old man found dead after being arrested on suspicion of indecent assault at Kesgrave Hall school was a convicted paedophile, it can be revealed.

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Kenneth Wheatley was also the most recent of the 20 arrests made in the large-scale National Crime Agency (NCA) inquiry into alleged historic abuse at north Wales’ children’s homes.

Previously known as Kenneth Scott, the former Kesgrave Hall care worker was sentenced to eight years in prison in Leicestershire in 1986. He was jailed following convictions for buggery and gross indecency.

On Friday last week it emerged that Wheatley’s body was found on a railway line near Barnsley two days after he was arrested by Suffolk detectives as part of their inquiry into alleged abuse at the former Kesgrave Hall boarding school.

Wheatley, of Cliffe Crescent, Dodworth, Barnsley, was also interviewed and arrested on suspicion of two alleged indecent assaults in relation to the NCA’s Operation Pallial.

They were said to have taken place in north Wales in 1976 against a boy then aged 13 or 14.

Wheatley was found dead on the rail line between Dodworth and Silkstone Common on April 12, after being released on police bail.

He had been arrested on suspicion of the indecent assaults on April 10 along with a 65-year-old former teacher at Kesgrave Hall in relation to abuse claims by former pupils.

The ex-teacher currently lives in the Pontefract area of west Yorkshire. He is on bail until August 22.

An inquest into Wheatley’s death has been opened and adjourned pending the conclusion of a British Transport Police investigation.

Suffolk Constabulary last week announced that a third man, who lives in north Norfolk, has been arrested in the Kesgrave Hall abuse investigation.

Claims against a 68-year-old man date from the 1970s to the 1990s. Police have said the suspect was a member of staff at the school, but not a teacher. He is on bail until September 1.

The arrests are as a result of a long-running investigation by Suffolk Constabulary into allegations by ex-pupils at the former boarding school.

The inquiry began early last year after complaints resurfaced in December 2012.

Originally Suffolk police conducted an investigation in 1992 after allegations of physical abuse were made. The inquiry led to four care workers being suspended after a complaint by another member of staff.

However, no charges were forthcoming and the quartet were re-instated after being suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

Kesgrave Hall was closed as a boarding school in 1993.

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