Operation Kiso: further arrest made over alleged rape charges

- 9 August 2013

Chetham's School of Music, Manchester Photo: David Dixon

Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester
Photo: David Dixon

Police running Operation Kiso, Greater Manchester Police’s investigation into historic abuse at Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music, have arrested a fourth man, named by the Guardian and Press Association as Malcolm Layfield, over alleged offences of rape against three girls.

In February this year, Layfield resigned from his post as head of strings at the Royal Northern College of Music. This was a post he was promoted to in 2002 having previously been a strings teacher at the RNCM for several years after leaving Chetham’s as a part-time teacher in 1997. A joint statement issued by Layfield and the RNCM at the time said his position had ‘become untenable’.

Less than two weeks earlier, the former Chetham’s head of music Michael Brewer had been found guilty of sexual abuse of a pupil while teaching at Chetham’s and it was revealed that Brewer’s victim, Frances Andrade, had committed suicide after giving evidence at the trial.

Layfield’s appointment as head of strings at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2002 was publicly questioned by staff, with high-profile resignations by the college’s then head of keyboard studies, Martin Roscoe, and piano tutor Kathryn Stott.

At the time the RNCM released a statement which stated that, as CM reported: ‘The appointment panel were made aware of allegations regarding [Layfield’s] past conduct as a tutor. Senior managers of the college carried out an extensive enquiry with the full participation of Malcolm Layfield, who admitted to having had several relationships with his students.’

The statement added that the relationships occurred between 1980 and 1993, that none of the students involved was under the age of consent and that to the best of the college governors’ knowledge all relationships were consensual. Layfield had sought professional counselling, it said, and overall there were insufficient grounds for rescinding Layfield’s appointment.

Ten key suspects have been identified by officers working on Operation Kiso. A statement released by Greater Manchester Police said that a 61-year-old man had been arrested and bailed until 17 October pending further enquiries. ‘The offences relate to the rape of three teenagers, aged 16, 16 and 18, between 1980 and 1991 while the man was teaching at Chetham’s.’

The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Malcolm Layfield was head of strings at Chetham’s. We understand that he never held that role at Chetham’s and furthermore that he ceased working as a freelance teacher at Chetham’s in 1997.

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