Winchester College apologises for its pupils “terrible experiences” at the hands of John Smyth QC.

January 20th, 2022

Winchester College has this week published the outcome of an independent review into abuse committed by John Smyth QC against its former pupils.

Smyth, a barrister and evangelical Christian chaired the Charity the Iwerne Trust from 1974 – 1982. The Trust ran religious holiday camps, with students from Winchester College taking part.

In 2017 a Channel 4 documentary brought to public attention reports of abuse which had allegedly taken place at the camps.

The Report into the allegations of abuse concluded that Smyth regularly participated in Winchester College events. It went on to say that Smyth’s access to the college was not challenged by the college and his “unfettered access” to it allowed him to groom boys and created opportunities for abuse. The Report concludes that the impact of Smyth’s abuse had been traumatic and lifelong.

The College has issued an unreserved apology for “its part in their terrible experiences”, referring to their former pupils.

Smyth violently beat numerous boys and young men, handing out, on occasions, up to 800 lashes.

In 2017, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who knew Smyth, issued an unreserved and unequivocal apology on behalf of the Church of England.

It is understood that in April 2020 three men reached a settlement with the Titus Trust, which had taken over some of the responsibilities of Iwerne Trust in 1997, in relation to the abuse they were subjected to by Smyth.