Businessman jailed for abuse at children’s home 70 years ago

David Calderhead, now 81, preyed on boys at Quarriers in Renfrewshire where he was living at the time.

Businessman jailed for abuse at children’s home 70 years ago Getty Images
Jailed: David Calderhead preyed on boys at the children's home.

A wealthy Scots businessman has been jailed for abuse at a children’s home dating back 70 years.

David Calderhead preyed on boys at Quarriers in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, where he was also living at the time.

One victim was sexually assaulted and also threatened with an axe.

The crimes happened between 1951 and 1961.

Calderhead, now 81, left the home and later had a stint in the army before making his millions.

He was locked up for his part in a London vice ring in the late 1970s.

But the businessman later continued to forge a lucrative career in entertainment, hospitality and property.

Former orphan Calderhead also funded help for poor children in India.

However his past at Quarriers finally caught up with him when his five victims – all now pensioners themselves – reported how they had suffered at his hands.

It led to Calderhead appearing in the dock at the High Court in Glasgow.

He was found guilty at trial of indecently assaulting and physically hurting one then boy.

Calderhead was further convicted of lewd and libidinous conduct on another three, including assaulting one of them.

He was also guilty of repeatedly punching another young resident.

On Wednesday, Calderhead, now of Brighton, Sussex, was jailed for a total of three years.

Judge Sean Murphy QC told him he had made a “substantial contribution to society” in more recent years, but that prison had to be imposed.

He said: “You were young, but you took advantage of several boys both vulnerable and junior to you.

“You caused significant harm, which lasts to this day.

“After being discharged from the army you formed successful businesses through your hard work and created employment for others.

“The references provided disclose you have been involved in charitable work for underprivileged children elsewhere in the world.

“You donated large amounts of your own money for these good causes.

“I have concluded the gravity of the sexual offences is such that a custodial sentence is the only appropriate response.”

Calderhead, who had been on bail before Wednesday’s hearing, was also put on the sex offenders’ list.

He had denied the charges during a trial earlier this year.

Calderhead had ended up at Quarriers due to his difficult upbringing.

He was described as a “bully” who picked on younger residents.

One victim was as young as seven.

Another who was sexually abused was confronted with a weapon.

Prosecutors stated Calderhead ran towards him, grabbed the boy, placed his arm over a wooden plank and then brandished an axe.

This terrified child was threatened with violence if he told anyone.

A probe was sparked decades later which eventually ended up with Calderhead being held by police.

The ex-residents, now in their 70s and 80s, bravely disclosed what had gone on.

Judge Murphy said the victims have been badly affected both “emotionally and psychologically” with Calderhead showing “no remorse”.