Probe into historic sex abuse claims at Fettes College

Fettes College. Picture: Neil Hanna
Fettes College. Picture: Neil Hanna

ONE of Edinburgh’s most exclusive private schools is facing a police investigation into allegations of historic child sex abuse.

Fettes College – which boasts former Prime Minister Tony Blair among its famous alumni – is understood to be at the centre of decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct by former staff.

The claims make it just the latest of Scotland’s most prestigious schools to be implicated in a historic abuse scandal.

Merchiston Castle, on Colinton Road in the south west of the Capital, has seen two former members of staff charged with sexual offences committed in the 1960s.

Meanwhile, a former physics teacher at Gordonstoun school in Moray has appeared in court accused of crimes dating back to the 1980s.

It is understood the allegations at Fettes relate to incidents that stretch back to the mid-1980s.

It was reported over the weekend that names passed to police are believed to include some individuals linked to the so-called “Magic Circle” scandal of the early 1990s.

A police spokeswoman yesterday confirmed a report on the allegations would be passed to the procurator fiscal.

She said: “Police Scotland can confirm that an investigation has been carried out into reports of non-recent abuse and it is the intention to report the circumstances to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.”

Fettes College is one of Scotland’s most expensive private schools, with fees for senior boarders coming in at more than £10,000 per term. As well as Tony Blair, former pupils include the actress Tilda Swinton and a host of top judges, diplomats, politicians and rugby players. The school was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

However a spokesman was reported in a Sunday newspaper to say: “Police have carried out investigations into allegations of non-recent abuse. Fettes College have co-operated fully with their inquiries.”

Police Scotland’s ongoing probe into historic child abuse was launched after the daughter of the late QC Robert Henderson claimed he had repeatedly abused her – and allowed others to do the same.

Susie Henderson, now 49, also said her father had allowed her to be raped at the age of four by Tory minister Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, who died in 1995. The wide-ranging investigation has now been running for 18 months. It is thought more than 100 suspects have been identified in that time – as well as around 50 institutions.