A children’s home burned all its records when a paedophile ex-employee was arrested, an inquiry has heard.
Former senior policeman Mick Creedon said he was “haunted” knowing runaways were sent back to the Ratcliffe Road home in Leicester and sexually abused.
He also told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) he was “disappointed” when refused permission to arrest MP Greville Janner.
Lord Janner, who died in 2015, always denied sexual abuse allegations.
The inquiry heard Mr Creedon ran what was then the country’s largest child abuse investigation during his time as a detective sergeant in Leicestershire.
He said the worst abuse happened at the Ratcliffe Road children’s home, which he described as a “hell-hole” where “children would sit in a circle, waiting to see who’d be taken out next”.
Police struggled to trace former residents because “social services wouldn’t release records”, he told the inquiry.
The home was “immediately closed down” when they arrested a prime suspect, and a senior worker at the home “immediately burned all the files”.
Mr Creedon, who went on to become Chief Constable of the Derbyshire force, said he is still haunted by the fact that several people he spoke to killed themselves, as well as by the lasting impact of abuse on victims and survivors.
Three former Ratcliffe Road residents eventually said they were also abused by Lord Janner, who died in 2015, and Mr Creedon told the inquiry he was refused permission to arrest the politician in 1991, when he was representing the Leicester West constituency in the House of Commons.
Instead of being arrested he was invited to Leicestershire Police’s headquarters to be interviewed.
However, his home was not searched and he answered “no comment” to questions, so the case was dropped.
Mr Creedon denied going too easy on Lord Janner and said one account that questions were sent in advance “categorically didn’t happen”.
“I still think there was a justifiable case for his arrest,” he said.
The inquiry continues.