Towards the end of 1968, a Probation Welfare Officer reported two incidents of physical abuse of boys in Marlborough House to the Department of Education. The first incident, which he witnessed in September 1968, was ‘a brutal beating of one of the inmates’ by an attendant, Mr Lombard. He stated: This beating consisted of numerous punches with his clenched fist, which reduced the boy to a whimpering mass. The concluding portion of this incident was witnessed by Mrs Grange,7 the matron and the complete incident took place in the presence of all the inmates at the time. May I say that I considered this a savage, uncontrolled beating, accompanied by expressions from the attendant, of which I could plainly hear “dirtbird” being mentioned on quite a few occasions.
In May 1969, a Probation Officer reported an assault on a boy at Marlborough House to Judge Eileen Kennedy. The boy had been hit in the eye with an aluminium mug by the Matron, Mrs Grange, which resulted in a black eye, and he was slapped twice on the left-hand side of his face by her. He was seen by a doctor the following evening but he ‘was afraid to say anything against Mrs Grange, as she was present while the doctor saw him, and he was afraid he would get a beating that night’. He had been a week in custody and, when brought before Judge Kennedy on remand, he had a black eye. Judge Kennedy brought the matter to the attention of the Secretary of the Department of Education on the same day, and said that she was of the view that the ‘complaint is one deserving of investigation’.
The Investigation Committee heard evidence from a complainant who was the individual subjected to the alleged assault by the Matron, Mrs Grange. He recalled that, when he appeared before her, Judge Kennedy asked how he had received a black eye, to which he replied ‘the madame gave me bang with a belt or something’.
This witness complained of getting ‘a few clatters on a few occasions’ from the Matron, Mrs Grange, and he explained that the black eye which Judge Kennedy had asked him about, was in fact the result of a blow with a ladle.
The Department became aware that Mr Jacob was supplying the information to the press. Following publication of these articles, officials from the Department of Education interviewed a number of staff at Marlborough House, including the Superintendent, Mr Carnoy, the matron, Mrs Grange, and Mr Jacob. In his interview, Mr Jacob admitted that he contacted Ms Sweetman and gave her access to the building, and he re-asserted his allegations that the boys were ill-treated by certain attendants. He was initially suspended from work, and then was sacked at the end of January 1971, following an internal Department investigation into complaints made against him.