Police launch investigation into historical sex abuse allegations at Earl Spencer's Maidwell Hall boarding school

Police have launched an investigation into historical allegations of sexual abuse at Earl Spencer's Maidwell Hall boarding school.

The younger brother of Princess Diana claimed in his memoir, published earlier this year, that he had suffered sexual abuse and physical beatings from a female member of staff during his time at the boarding school.

Earl Spencer attended the Northamptonshire school during the 1970s from the ages of eight to 13.

On Monday, local police said they had launched a criminal investigation into "allegations of non-recent sexual abuse" at Maidwell Hall School.

A spokesperson for the force said they were in the "early stages" of investigating the claims and would seek all available lines of inquiry to "help bring perpetrators to justice".

In his memoir, A Very Private School, Earl Spencer said he was abused by an assistant matron when he was 11, leaving him with such trauma that he self-harmed over the notion she may leave the school.

Earl Spencer, who said he'd been left with lifelong "demons" after the abuse, wrote: "There seemed to be an unofficial hierarchy among her prey... she chose one boy each term to share her bed and would use him for intercourse.

"Her control over mesmerised boys was total, for we were starved of feminine warmth and desperate for attention and affection."

Earl Spencer claimed that as a result of the abuse he suffered, he lost his virginity to an Italian prostitute age 12.

Of the act, he said he now thinks he was "simply completing the process set in motion by the assistant matron's perverted attention".

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He described reliving his time at the school as "an absolutely hellish experience", writing: "I've frequently witnessed deep pain, still flickering in the eyes of my Maidwell contemporaries.

"Many of us left Maidwell with demons sewn into the seams of our souls."

A Maidwell Hall spokesperson previously told Sky News the school was "dismayed" by the allegations of abuse, adding "we are sorry".

The spokesperson also said: "It is difficult to read about practices which were, sadly, sometimes believed to be normal and acceptable at that time.

"Almost every facet of school life has evolved significantly since the 1970s.

"At the heart of these changes is the strict safeguarding of children - protecting them from abuse and maltreatment - and the promotion of their welfare."

They referred themselves to the local authority after the allegations surfaced, and encouraged anyone with similar experiences to contact them, or the police.