Simon Roderick Warr
9 September 1953
|Died||February 22, 2020|
|Employer||BBC Freelance Broadcaster|
False allegations of historical child abuse
Simon Roderick Warr (9 September 1953–22 February 2020) was a British radio broadcaster, television personality and former teacher. Warr was acquitted of allegations of historical child abuse and wrote a book about his experiences.
1 Personal background
2 Professional background
2.3 Radio broadcasting
3 False allegations of historical child abuse
6 External links
Simon Warr was born in Haverfordwest, in west Wales. He was orphaned at the age of six. Warr was educated at the Royal Masonic School for Boys.
After leaving school he embarked on an acting course at the London Drama Centre. He transferred to Goldsmiths College, University of London, qualifying as a languages teacher in 1977. He was subsequently awarded a Master’s degree at the Roehampton Institute, University of Surrey.
In 1981 Warr took up a post at St George's School, Stowmarket where he taught French, German and Latin. He also coached the 1st XV rugby squad.
From 1983 until his arrest in 2012, Warr taught languages at the Royal Hospital School, Ipswich
Warr's television career began in 2003 with BBC1's Rule the School. He was subsequently cast in the role of headmaster and languages teacher in Channel 4's series about 1950s grammar schools That'll Teach 'Em which ran for 3 seasons from 2003. He also appeared in Channel 5's The Nightmare Neighbours Next Door.
His television appearances have also included being guest on The One Show (2007) and on Sunday Morning Live (2010-2012). He was also a contestant on Mastermind in 1981. Warr was the only person ever to have hosted Mastermind on BBC1 with Magnus Magnusson in the famous black chair as a contestant. This event is noted in Magnus Magnusson’s autobiography I've Started, So I'll Finish (1998).
Warr was a broadcaster on BBC Radio Suffolk, whose broadcasts included Saturday football reports, and he made regular appearances on BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show. Between 2007 and 2012 Warr hosted The Warr Zone, a phone-in radio show. In 2015 he took on the focal role in On the Warr Path, a BBC radio programme in which he had to complete a weekly range of challenges set by the producers. To date these have included modern dance, archery, taking part in an assault course, working as a car mechanic and learning to play the guitar.
In March 2017 his book Presumed Guilty was published by Biteback Publishing. Presumed Guilty is Warr's account of spending almost two years on bail accused of historical abuse offences and his battle to clear his name after being acquitted of all charges. Presumed Guilty was reviewed by David Aaronovitch in The Times newspaper.
Warr also published a novel, Howson’s Choice, in 2011. It is a fictional retelling of the downfall of Peter Hobson, headmaster of Charterhouse, who resigned after his relationship with a female escort was exposed by a tabloid newspaper.
In July 2016 he launched a personal blog entitled The Warr Zone.
False allegations of historical child abuse
In 2012 Warr was arrested and questioned by police following a complaint of historical child sexual abuse made by a man who had been a former pupil at St George's School, Stowmarket. The school had already come under scrutiny in 1982 by investigative journalist Roger Cook over headmaster Derek Slade's use of corporal punishment and a 2010 trial which led to the jailing of Slade for sexually abusing boys.
Warr was subsequently charged with indecent assault on three former pupils, two from St George's School and one from the Royal Hospital School. Warr pleaded not guilty to all charges and went on trial at Ipswich Crown Court in October 2014. Serious doubts emerged during the trial when evidence was given that he had never taught two of the complainants and that a witness and complainant had changed their stories. The jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty on all charges within a matter of minutes of being sent out by the judge
Warr later said that "One of the biggest tragedies of cases like mine is that it makes it more difficult for people who have actually been abused to be believed". A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service justified the prosecution, saying "We were satisfied there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it was in the public interest to prosecute".
Warr appeared on BBC Newsnight after his acquittal to discuss the way in which historical allegations are handled by police and the Crown Prosecution Service. He was also interviewed about the case on BBC2 and Radio 5 Live.
He subsequently wrote about his 672-day ordeal, including nearly two years on police bail, the trial and his acquittal in an essay entitled "Something Good Has To Come From This", published in The Justice Gap magazine in 2016. He also appeared on the Jeremy Vine Show, along with Sarah Champion MP, to debate how historical sexual allegations should be handled by police.
In July 2016 Warr commenced civil proceedings for damages against the lead complainant. He has also launched a Parliamentary Petition calling for those who have knowingly made false allegations of abuse to face prosecution.
On 20 February 2020, Warr announced he had a "very serious health condition"; he died of pancreatic and liver cancer on 22 February 2020.
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