Broadcaster Nicky Campbell says he was victim of abuse at Edinburgh school

·3-min read

BBC presenter Nicky Campbell has claimed that he was the victim of abuse at a Scottish private school during the 1970s.

The broadcaster, 61, said witnessing incidents of both sexual and physical abuse at the Edinburgh Academy had had a “profound effect on my life”.

Campbell made the claims for the first time on an episode of his podcast Different on BBC Sounds, released on Wednesday.

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

Campbell will later tell BBC Radio 5 Live: “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.”

Campbell also discussed witnessing more serious sexual abuse, allegedly enacted on his school-mates at the hands of another man at the institution.

“I cannot describe it here and I can never un-see it,” he will tell 5 Live.

“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 Campbell by Renton that the alleged abuser is still alive, but has not been named for legal reasons.

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The broadcaster, 61, said witnessing incidents of both sexual and physical abuse at the Edinburgh Academy had had a ‘profound effect on my life’ (John Super/BBC/PA)

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

In a statement, 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.”

NSPCC Scotland’s assistant director, Neil Mcintosh added: “It can be extremely difficult to speak out about experiencing or witnessing child sexual abuse, no matter when it took place, and Nicky Campbell has shown real courage in publicly talking about what he suffered in the very institutions that are meant to protect young people.

“The safety and welfare of pupils must be the primary consideration for all institutions and it is vital they send out a clear message that any abuse will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly.

“This includes initial concerns, escalating where necessary and working with local child protection partners to ensure there are no missed opportunities and abuse cannot continue.

“Children and young people must know who they can speak to in a school setting about any concerns and have the confidence they will be listened to and that all allegations will be investigated.

“We understand that changes have been made in recent years to better protect children in schools.

“However, it is crucial that all learnings that come out of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry are fully taken on board by all institutions and acted upon quickly, if changes are needed.

“We hope that Mr Campbell is receiving the support he needs and that by speaking out, it will encourage others in a similar position to do the same and reassure them that they are not alone and people are ready to listen and help.”

Different With Nicky Campbell is available on BBC Sounds.