Man charged with sex offences at children’s home

Police appeal
Police appeal

A man has been charged after a police investigation into abuse at the Woodend children’s home in the borough.

David Mann will face Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court on October 11 over three charges under the Sexual Offences Act 1956.

The 67-year-old is currently on bail.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) launched Operation Milan into allegations of abuse at the Atherton assessment centre in 2015.

Complaints of both physical and sexual abuse at Woodend were given to the police.

Former Woodend employee Mann, from Westhoughton, has been charged relating to three separate reports between 1982 and 1987 from individuals aged between 11 and 16 at the time.

Police investigated allegations of abuse at Woodend between the 1970s and the 1990s.

Those who have made allegations and battled for further action by the authorities include renowned poet and broadcaster Lemn Sissay, who spent time at the assessment centre as a teenager.

The centre, originally built as a remand facility, closed in 1994.

Donna Hall, chief executive of Wigan Council, said: “We can confirm that a former member of staff, who left our employment over a decade ago, has been charged in connection with historical allegations of abuse at Woodend Observation and Assessment Centre, which closed nearly 20 years ago, and will appear at Wigan Magistrates Court this autumn. At this stage no one else has been charged.

“We have been working to put in place specialist support for those affected, and their families, should they require it.

“We have been cooperating with the police throughout their investigation, and will continue to do so. We are unable to comment further at this time.”