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Nicky Campbell Shares ‘Profound Effect’ Abuse At Edinburgh School Has Had On Him

today27 July 2022

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BBC presenter Nicky Campbell has shared the “profound effect” the abuse he says he suffered at a Scottish private school during the 1970s has had on him.

The broadcaster spoke for the first time about witnessing incidents of both sexual and physical abuse at the Edinburgh Academy on an episode of his podcast Different on BBC Sounds.

During the episode he discussed his experiences with journalist Alex Renton, creator of the radio programme In Dark Corners, which explores abuse at Britain’s private schools.

Introducing his 5 Live show Nicky told listeners he was about to discuss a difficult subject, adding: “I know I am amongst friends but I may have a wobble but I know you’ll be with me.”

Nicky Campbell
Nicky Campbell

Dave J Hogan via Getty Images

Recalling his experiences, he said: “I was badly beaten up at school by a teacher who was a leading light in the scripture union.

“My mother took it as far as she could and got a grovelling apology from (the man involved), but was essentially stonewalled and it was hushed up by the school.

“Those were different times and that has stayed with me all my life.”

The broadcaster also discussed witnessing more serious sexual abuse allegedly enacted on his school friends at the hands of another man at the institution.

“I cannot describe it here and I can never un-see it,” he said.

“This man was known to us all as a predator and a sadist but we never told anyone.

“My school friends and I talk about it now with each other with again – contempt, disbelief and incomprehension that sort of thing happened in plain sight and nothing was done.

“And why didn’t we as little boys tell anyone in power what was happening? I don’t know.”

It was also revealed to Nicky by Alex that the alleged abuser is still alive, but has not been named for legal reasons.

“He could well be one of the most prolific paedophiles in British criminal history,” Nicky said.

Speaking on his own podcast Nicky says the reason he has chosen to come forward is to bring the man to justice over the alleged abuse.

In a statement provided to the BBC, Edinburgh Academy said it “deeply regrets” the alleged incidents and “wholeheartedly” apologised to those involved.

“We have worked closely with the relevant authorities including Police Scotland with their inquiries and would like to provide reassurance that things have dramatically changed since the 1970s,” the statement read.

“The Academy has robust measures in place to safeguard children at the school with child protection training now core to the ethos of the Academy.”

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has heard evidence about abuse at the Edinburgh Academy, as well as other Scottish private schools

The inquiry, led by Judge Lady Smith, was launched by the Scottish government in 2015. It will report the outcome of its investigations to Scottish ministers “and make recommendations” about policies and the law.

Different With Nicky Campbell is available on BBC Sounds.

Help and support:

  • Rape Crisis services for women and girls who have been raped or have experienced sexual violence – 0808 802 9999
  • Survivors UK offers support for men and boys – 0203 598 3898

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