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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
James Walker

BBC presenter Nicky Campbell tells inquiry of sexual abuse at Edinburgh Academy

BROADCASTER Nicky Campbell has told an inquiry of sexual abuse he endured at Edinburgh Academy as he compared a teacher to Jimmy Savile.

Campbell, 62, attended Edinburgh Academy, a fee-paying school, between 1966 and 1978, from the ages of five to 17.

He told the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry that he was sexually assaulted by a teacher, Hamish Dawson, who died in 2009, and alleged he witnessed a primary-age child being sexually assaulted by another teacher, Iain Wares, whom he compared to Savile.

Permission was given by the inquiry’s chair earlier this year to identify Wares, 83, who was previously a “protected person” and was referred to by a pseudonym.

Campbell said he had used prescription medication to cope with the memories of Edinburgh Academy, and said he was “haunted” in the middle of the night by his schooldays.

Campbell said he hid the abuse, which began in junior school but escalated in senior school, from his adoptive parents, Sheila and Frank Campbell.

He recalled being in preparatory school when he allegedly saw Wares molesting a pupil aged about 10 years old in the showers.

On one occasion, aged 14 or 15 years old, Campbell claimed he was attacked by a teacher, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, so violently that a friend who witnessed it thought he was being mugged by a stranger.

Campbell recalled threatening to call the police after the assault – which prompted his mother to contact Edinburgh Academy.

In a two-hour testimony before Lady Smith, Campbell said taking part in the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry was “the best decision he had ever made”. He described himself as a “survivor”.  

Campbell spoke with contempt about the Crown and Procurator Fiscal Office which, in 2019, ruled it was “not in the public interest” to extradite Wares, now in his 80s, from South Africa, on the grounds of age.

He compared Wares to Jimmy Savile, saying: “Savile was on everyone’s minds at the BBC.

“Savile’s opportunities were one-to-one. Iain Ware’s was one-to-20 boys.”

And he criticised “the Edinburgh Omerta” which brought “wrath” on actor Iain Glen, who spoke out in 2002 about abuse at Edinburgh Academy.

Campbell became visibly angry when speaking about Wares living in a “plush retirement home” – and demanded a public apology from Edinburgh Academy, claiming it moved the teacher on to Fettes College, another high profile school also in Edinburgh.

Campbell said: “You sent him there after a parent complained. You must do it unreservedly, and do it now.”

He said mandatory reporting “breaks this pernicious code” and urged for it to be brought in.

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: “This has been a complex investigation and COPFS appreciates that it has been difficult for all those involved.

“In order to protect any future proceedings and to preserve the rights of the complainers, the Crown will not comment further at this stage.”

Campbell wrote a memoir, Blue-Eyed Son, published in 2004, and was given an OBE for services to children in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2015.

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