June 2023

Painstaking investigation leads to man pleading guilty to child sexual offences

A former social worker and verger for the Queen has pleaded guilty to child sexual offences after specialist officers retrieved a wealth of historical evidence to help prove his guilt.

Clive McCleester, 77 (05.08.45) of St Cross Road, Winchester pleaded guilty at the Inner London Crown Court on Monday, 26 June to eight counts of indecent assault and two counts of gross indecency with a child, against two teenage boys.

At the time of one of the offences McCleester was employed as a child welfare officer at Tylney Hall School in Hampshire, between 1960 and 1971.

The first victim was aged between 13 to 15-years-old at the time of the offences. McCleester resided at the boarding school in his own private residence and was assigned as a welfare officer to look after the victim following the death of his Grandmother. The abuse took place between 1 January 1969 and April 1971.

The victim survivor disclosed his abuse to police after speaking with a counsellor. Sadly he will never know the final outcome of this investigation as he died in August 2020. Detectives remained in contact with his family throughout.

A second victim survivor came forward to police and disclosed the abuse he had also suffered at the hands of McCleester. He was around 13-years-old when he was abused by McCleester at Southwark Cathedral between 1 January 1984 and May 1987.

He was a chorister at the Cathedral where McCleester was the Head Verger. He was abused at McCleester’s flat which was within the vicarage.

Due to the time frame of the offences, specialist officers gathered and reviewed a vast amount of historical documentation to obtain the necessary evidence.

They interrogated systems, old archived files and employment records from the local authority and Southwark Cathedral to trace individuals to assist with the investigation.

Former pupils were traced and interviewed.

They also obtained specialist medical reports to corroborate the two victim accounts.