A day after a 54-year-old British national was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting three visually impaired minor boys at a blind school in south Delhi, police have found that the accused, Murray Dennis Ward, was allegedly chatting with 23 others over the phone. Police are now trying to ascertain who these phone numbers belong to and if any of them are minors. A police officer claimed that many of the chats had “sexual overtones”.
“Our teams will go to their homes and meet them and their families. The chats suggest that Ward would try to initiate conversations with sexual overtones,” claimed a senior police officer. A senior officer told The Indian Express that over chats on WhatsApp, he would ask the person he was talking to his or her age. “Some of these numbers are saved with names while others don’t identify the person,” said the officer.
Soon after arresting Ward, police had seized his mobile phone and laptop. “Ward has not revealed the password of his laptop. His phone was not password protected and we could get into it,” said a police officer. Police are now seeking help from IT professionals to look into his computer. On Monday, Ward was arrested from his residence in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj Enclave, where he was staying for the past seven months. His wife and two children, however, live in England.
A security guard at the three-storey residential complex where Ward lived told The Indian Express, “He used to be busy on his mobile phone. He used to live alone but a person, who he said was his adopted son, came to his house on a daily basis.” Ward’s neighbours refused to talk to the media. Police said Ward had employed a youth, who he called his adopted son, for assistance after he suffered a paralytic attack in February this year. Sources said the youth has also been questioned by investigators.
Ward, who has been living in India since October 2016, used to work at an multinational company in Gurgaon. After suffering a paralytic attack in February, he quit his job in April. Police said Ward started going to the school about 10 months ago and used to donate books, etc to children there. Police have also recovered a five-second video recording when Ward was allegedly sitting in a hostel room with the three boys. The purported video was recorded by a staffer of the school.
A case has been registered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Ward was produced before a city court on Monday, which sent him to police custody for two days. Sources said that since Ward is unwell, he has been put under 24-hour watch by the policemen in the lockup.
Police said the British High Commission has been informed about his arrest and further inquiry is being conducted. The three boys who were allegedly assaulted by Ward are being counselled by a team of professionals, including police officers.