Briton held for ‘sexual abuse’ of blind students was in touch with 27 kids: Delhi cops
Delhi Police says that it may be difficult to establish the identity of victims seen in ‘objectionable’ photographs found from the laptop of British man Murray Dennis WardUpdated: Sep 06, 2017 21:56 IST
Two days after a 54-year-old Briton was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting three visually impaired children at a home run by the National Association for the Blind (NAB), police said a search of his laptop and mobile phone has thrown up 34 “objectionable” photographs of children who appeared to be Indians.
Investigators said that Murray Dennis Ward allegedly had “objectionable” conversations through WhatsApp messages and online chats with 27 children from India.
Police suspect that some of the photographs could be that of some NAB inmates, though it will be difficult to establish their identity as most of the photographs did show face.
“We are refraining from interacting directly with the children. We will take help from child psychologists to get information related to our probe. This will help us find out if more children at the centre were assaulted by Ward,” said RP Upadhyay, joint commissioner of police (south-eastern range).
Upadhyay said Ward has refuted the allegations. However, the “objectionable material” found in his Macbook and mobile phones show that he is allegedly a “paedophile”, said the joint CP.
The police are now trying to find if all the 27 children he chatted with belonged to Delhi or other places. “We are collecting details about Ward’s trips to other Indian cities since 2016, the time when he returned to India for the fourth time since 2000,” said a senior investigator.
A native of Gloucestershire in the UK, Ward was arrested on Sunday after a staffer at the NAB centre caught him “red-handed” abusing the boys in a dormitory the previous evening, police said.
Meanwhile, the staffers at the NAB centre in RK Puram fielded a volley of questions from anxious parents of visually impaired children amid Teacher’s Day celebrations on Tuesday.
“I woke up to read the news about the sexual assault. I couldn’t believe it and read it again and again before speaking to my daughter to ensure she was never touched by the man,” said a mother of an eight-year-old day scholar at the centre. Other parents took to WhatsApp groups to discuss if any of their children had reported similar abuse.
“The teachers assured us abuse has never been reported and an incident like this will never be hushed,” said a man whose six-year-old son joined the centre two months ago.
Most children are day scholars and hence “safer” than those who live in the hostels. “Some of us stay at the school the entire time that our children study. Our children usually report bad touch, but they are vulnerable,” said another parent.
The NAB officials have promised to address the concerns of the children and counsel them along with their parents. “The trust the parents put in us is shaken. We will have to work hard to rebuild that trust,” said an official.