BBC host Nicky Campbell interviews daughter of 'paedophile' teacher

BBC broadcaster Nicky Campbell holds emotional meeting with daughter of teacher he says sexually abused him at one of Scotland’s top boarding schools – as she brands her ‘repulsive’ father ‘an abomination

  • Nicky Campbell revealed the abuse he suffered at Edinburgh Academy in 1970s
  • He met with the daughter of his alleged abuser, who spoke of childhood ‘terror’ 

BBC broadcaster Nicky Campbell has interviewed the daughter of an alleged paedophile teacher who he says sexually him at boarding school.

Campbell has spearheaded a public campaign about the abuse at Edinburgh Academy in the 1970s.

He spoke with 64-year-old Jenny Pearson who commented for the first time about the allegations against her late father Hamish Dawson, before describing her parents as an ‘abomination’, The Mirror reports.

She said: ‘Knowing I’m the daughter of a paedophile, it’s repulsive, shameful.

‘It’s disgusting. I’ve spent my whole professional life fighting for the rights of children and young people.’

The broadcaster, 61, (pictured as a child) said he could never talk about the abuse he suffered at Edinburgh Academy while his parents were alive, as they ‘sacrificed’ so much for him to attend 

Broadcaster Nicky Campbell says in addition to the abuse he suffered from Hamish Dawson, he witnessed another teacher ‘Edgar’ abuse male pupils at Edinburgh Academy in the 1970s

Mrs Pearson reached out to Campbell after he named her father among three teachers who were involved in child abuse.

She has since devoted herself to helping victims who were abused at her father’s school.

Speaking on Campbell’s BBC Radio 5 podcast Different, she described the ‘terror’ of her childhood suffering violent abuse at the hands of her father, who died in 2009.

She also recalled emotional abuse from her mother, who died five years after him.

Ms Pearson said: ‘From 14 to 19 I never saw my father… he was always with the boys.’

She added that she later found ‘horrific’ material relation to women slaves on her father’s computer after his death and has since spent hours speaking to his victims. 

Campbell first revealed the sexual abuse he had suffered from Hamish Dawson in an interview with BBC Breakfast last July. 

Now that Dawson is dead, Campbell has been concentrating his efforts on bringing another alleged abuser named ‘Edgar’ to justice, who is proving difficult to extradite from his home in South Africa.

Edinburgh Academy, where dozens of boys were abused in the 1970s, has since issued a public apology and says it is cooperating with police

‘I think it’s an absolute scandal that the extradition process is kind of like yeah whatever,’ he said. 

‘[Edgar] could well be one of the most prolific paedophiles in British criminal history if you do the maths and look at how long he taught and how many schools he was at.’ 

He claimed that in 1971, aged 10, he witnessed the man – who has more than 20 child abuse allegations to his name under the ongoing Scottish Child Abuse Enquiry – abusing one of his friends in Edinburgh Academy’s showers after rugby training. 

‘My friend is laughing but I know from the fear in it that it’s not a good laugh,’ Campbell recounted. ‘When we walk to the bus stop we don’t even talk about it and we’d never tell.’

The former Watchdog presenter added he ‘couldn’t have spoken about the school’ when his mother and father ‘were alive’ because of the sacrifices they made to send him to private school.

He also called on a change of the rules for private schools who are not subject to the same safeguarding requirements as state schools.

Nicky Campbell spoke in July about witnessing and experiencing sexual and violent physical abuse as a young schoolboy at a Scottish private school during the 1970s 

Mr Campbell added: ‘There is no mandatory reporting in the private sector and you think now with our understanding and sensibilities he would be.

‘Schools like that fostered a culture of omerta and not telling and keeping the secrets and these are the people who have been running the country.’

After Campbell went public with the allegations, other former pupils of Edinburgh Academy and Fettes College stepped forward with stories of abuse.

Edinburgh Academy has since issued a public apology and say it is cooperating with police.

In a statement to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, Fettes College – whose alumni include former PM Tony Blair – made a ‘full and unreserved apology’.

It said: ‘While words of apology may have limited worth, we fully accept and recognise in the past there was sexual, physical and emotional abuse of pupils while at Fettes College.’

Edgar, who lives in a retirement complex in Cape Town, was arrested in South Africa in 2019 by British Police, and is due to appear in court on March 17 for a further extradition hearing.

He told a previous court hearing that he moved to Edinburgh from South Africa in 1967 to seek treatment after experiencing ‘urges’ to touch boys in the school he worked after graduating, The Times reports.

  • BBC 5 Live Different podcast with Nicky Campbell is on BBC Sounds

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