Former pupil’s book will “tell the truth” about historic abuse at St Ambrose College

Journalist and old boy David Nolan
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A former St Ambrose College pupil is to detail the abuse that he and others suffered at the school in a new book to be published next week.

David Nolan will release Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil on July 2nd, with a sold-out launch event at Local Creation in Altrincham tonight.

The book follows on from his involvement with the trial of former teacher Alan Morris, who was jailed for nine years last summer for decades of abuse at the Hale Barns school.

Nolan withdrew his right to give evidence in the trial in order to document the lead-up to the trial in an 11-minute film for Granada Reports.

Below: David Nolan (left) confronts former teacher Alan Morris (centre) outside court during his trial

David Nolan confronts Morris outside court

The film prompted more former pupils to come forward – Nolan says a total of “nearly 100” for the trial and after sentencing – and he says he has written the book to help those who continue to struggle with their experiences at the school.

He adds: “For the victims it didn’t happen in the past, because they thought about it this morning. One of the interviewees in the book tried to kill himself twice. I get very annoyed with people who say, ‘oh it’s all in the past’, because it isn’t in the past for them.

“Some of the victims got to see Morris in court, but for others, they never got that, so this is some form of alternative.

“It’s also to show absolutely, categorically, what the police stated – that it wasn’t just Morris, it was other people. Morris’s bad fortune was that he was still alive.”

Below: St Ambrose College as it is today


The book reveals the names of at least two other teachers who, had they still been alive, would have been prosecuted for the abuse they perpetrated at the school. One was a Christian Brother who taught at the school in the 1970s, whose abuse, Nolan says from conversations with his victims, was worse than Morris.

“For those lads, going to the police and having someone listen to them and believe them was a massive, massive thing for them,” says Nolan. “But they’ll never have their day in court, so to see it in the book in black and white, to show that yes it happened, is a really important thing.”

Nolan was himself a victim in the 70s, but he denies any suggestion that his book is the result of bearing a grudge against his alma mater.

“I came forward [originally] because I knew that what went on at our school wasn’t right,” he said. “I felt it was my civic duty to speak about it, and shame on anyone else who didn’t do it.

Below: The cover of Nolan’s book, Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil

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“It’s now become this book, as it didn’t feel right to stop at the Granada report when there was all this other stuff to be told. But I’d much rather not to have had to do this.”

This will be the 10th book for Nolan, a respected journalist, writer and documentary-maker who has penned music biographies on the likes of Tony Wilson, Damon Albarn and Simon Cowell.

He claims that Fred Talbot would not have been prosecuted had former Altrincham Grammar School pupils not seen “that it could be done” through the Morris trial, and he says the book is a “how-to survival guide” for anyone caught up in a similar case.

“God forbid that anyone should find themselves in this situation or in an historical abuse trial,” he adds, “but this is what happens from top to toe, from the incident happening, to the investigation and the compensation and all points in between.”

Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil is out on July 2nd and published by John Blake Publishing. It’s available from Amazon.

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