A Few More Who Might Be Able To Answer Questions

I mentioned in a post a couple of days ago that I was about to begin reading Jack Straw’s autobiography, ‘Last Man Standing’. I finished it this morning and it was very much a case of the Ghost of Private Eyes Past – Straw talks about all the things that provided Eye readers with so much entertainment throughout the Blair and Brown years. Lord Levy, the Millennium Dome, Prezza assaulting a member of the public, Hans Blix searching for Saddam’s WMD down the back of the sofa, Lord Derry Irvine of the very expensive wallpaper, Charlie Falconer, the Hutton Report, it’s all there. Jack talks a lot about his friend Condi Rice and mentions many things that will remind everyone of why so many people cancelled their Labour Party membership during the Blair years. Jack seems to think that he’s dealing with these matters in a way that constructs them as positive, but he doesn’t manage that very successfully.

Jack’s interpretation of history is rather different than that of many other people. ASBOs ‘were a success’ – no Jack, ASBOs criminalised thousands of vulnerable people including children with mental health problems, autism and Tourettes, they were a disaster which is why they were abandoned. The return of Mandelson to Gov’t was a ‘positive’ move – no, that was the final straw (so to speak) for many of us – and best of all, Alistair Campbell was a man of ‘integrity’. Er, OK Jack, whatever you say. So what does Jack have to say about that rather difficult business involving the death of Dr David Kelly? Well, Dr Kelly ‘tragically died in July 2003’ but Jack doesn’t mention the circumstances. I seem to remember it had something to do with a dodgy dossier, the most enormous row with the BBC and the hounding and scapegoating of Dr Kelly – the root of all this being Alistair Campbell.

Jack is very scathing in his book about someone who stood for election against him on one occasion, even more scathing than he is about the BNP. Who was this candidate who pissed Jack off so much? It was Craig Murray, the former Ambassador for Uzbekistan. I went to listen to Craig Murray speak when he came to Bangor a few years ago and it was fascinating. Craig was of course famously withdrawn from his post in Uzbekistan and was subjected to much Gov’t criticism because he drank, partied and had some relationships with local women. But Craig did something else which was probably what really bothered the Foreign Office – he refused to shut up about the appalling human rights abuses happening in Uzbekistan, which included people being boiled alive. Craig was told that he was ‘over-focussed on human rights’ and was transported back to England where he ended up in a psychiatric hospital. During his lecture, Craig described how he was interrogated and subjected to extreme pressure by British officials and at one point he was told that all this was being done on the personal orders of Jack Straw, who was at the time Foreign Secretary….

There are plenty of pointers in Jack’s book to his slipperiness – for example whenever a scandal broke, whether it was on his watch as Home Secretary or later as Foreign Secretary, he always seemed to be conveniently due to leave the UK that very night and thus was at the airport or on the plane, so it was inevitably a case of ‘I know nuzzing…’ At the very beginning of his book, Jack revels in the fact that even as a young man who had done little more than work for the NUS he had already gained a reputation as a duplicitous git – he boasts that Barbara Castle gave him a job as her political advisor because of his ‘low down cunning’. People who read the comments section of my blog might have noticed that one of my correspondents has been mentioning that Barbara Castle, Jack Straw and Norman Warner were covering up terrible things happening to disabled people in the mid-70s – Jack speaks admiringly of Norman Warner in his book and obviously really rated him. Jack mentions that Norman became Lord Warner – it’s becoming a familiar scenario isn’t it…

Jack did of course cause a bit of a stir at one point by going public on his habit of asking fully veiled women visiting his surgery in Blackburn to remove their veils before they spoke to him. At the time that Straw did this, The Veil was becoming an issue, seemingly because people believed that the country was teaming with Muslim women concealing bombs beneath their burkas. Straw represents Blackburn, a constituency with a high proportion of Muslims and I suspect that he has sufficient knowledge to know that Daily Mail columnists’ prejudices rarely reflect reality. He’d represented Blackburn for decades, had a home there and no-one had ever tried to blow him up with weaponry concealed in Islamic dress. He also will have known that for some fully veiled women at least, asking them to remove their veil is like someone asking him to remove his trousers. Jack spoke out about another sensitive subject in his part of the world as well – the sexual grooming of young white girls by some Pakistani men. Fearless Jack asks ‘what’s the point of being in politics and not saying what you think about the difficult issues…’

So was Jack always frank about difficult issues?

One massively difficult issue that landed on Jack’s desk when he was Home Secretary was that of Thatcher’s friend General Pinochet. Pinochet had arrived in England, had tea with Thatcher and a few other old mates and then found himself under arrest because the Spanish Gov’t wanted him extradited to face trial for torture. Jack stressed that he really did think long and hard about this, it took him months and he wasn’t going to be swayed by anyone else’s opinion – indeed he refused to discuss the matter of the murdering old bastard with anyone else at all. Readers may remember that Pinochet wasn’t extradited because some Top Doctors came to his rescue and presented ‘expert’ evidence that Pinochet was incredibly frail and far too ill to stand trial. Pinochet flew home and was famously filmed landing in Chile, immediately getting up out of his wheelchair, happily walking towards his supporters and greeting them enthusiastically.  Jack was horrified! Pinochet had tricked the ‘system’! He was another Ernest Saunders, just when Jack had assured everyone that no way would he allow another scam like that! So whose advice had Jack relied upon – whilst he was refusing to discuss Pinochet’s case with anyone of course? For a start, that of the Chief Medical Officer, Liam Donaldson.

Liam Donaldson wasn’t quite as successful as other Chief Medical Officers had been at pulling the wool over everybody’s eyes – although he did keep bollocking on about successfully achieving ‘patient empowerment’ – and he ended up resigning as a result of the ‘modernising medical careers’ disaster, which screwed up the job application process for thousands of junior doctors. Liam was of course no rebel – indeed when Liam was CMO Mid-Staffs was quietly brewing away and he didn’t put a stop to it, Harold Shipman was brewing away and he didn’t manage to catch that in time either and of course the Top Doctors in north Wales were doing the most appalling things (I note that Donaldson studied at Bristol Medical School at the same time as Dr D.G.E. Wood…). However Top Doctors do get very angry if their paths are crossed in even a minor way and the BMA turned on their own and went after Liam’s blood. One Dr Richard Marks, Head of Policy at the BMA, very obviously wanted Donaldson’s head on a plate and was greatly pleased when he got it. I am wondering if Richard Marks is a member of the high profile Marks medical family, which includes the former Chair of the BMA Dr John Marks and Professor Vincent Marks, whom I worked for at the University of Surrey – both of whom kept quiet about the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors in north Wales (see post ‘The BMA At The Root Of Another Mystery’). I bet he is, being a Top Doctor who reaches the highest echelons of the medical establishment does run in families. Obviously the superior genes…

Liam ‘oversaw’ the medical assessment of Pinochet. I have long wondered who actually provided the dishonest expert report which enabled a vicious dictator to return home and die peacefully of old age in luxury when the bodies of many of his victims had not yet been recovered. It is very difficult to access such info, because a lot of secrecy surrounds Top Doctors’ expert reports to Courts. Of course, Court cases are (usually) public and the expert reports can decide whether someone is imprisoned, banged up for life in a special hospital or allowed to go free immediately, but not any old Tom, Dick or Harry can read those reports or even find out the identity of the Top Doctors giving evidence. I had always intended to publish the packs of lies that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, Dr James Earp and Dr Robert Kehoe wrote about me in their capacity as ‘expert witnesses’ to demonstrate what the Top Doctors are actually capable of, but before I began this blog I took legal advice and was told ‘sorry, you are not allowed to ‘reproduce’ their reports in any way’. But they can lie about me… So I have just provided as many details about them as I am legally allowed on the blog. My friends have of course all read the reports and were suitably wowed by the lack of integrity of the Top Doctors who put their names to those documents.

However Jack’s book reveals the name of the Top Doctor who was so helpful to Pinochet! It was Sir John Grimley Evans, who is now Emeritus Professor at Oxford University. After Pinochet made his spectacular recovery as soon as he touched Chilean soil and the shit hit the fan, John Grimley Evans tried to shoulder the blame onto Straw, quibbling over the use of one word in his report. The uproar didn’t harm the long term prospects of dear old Sir John though – in 2005 Parliament still thought highly enough of him to receive written evidence from him for the Select Committee On Science and Technology regarding quality of life in old age. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and between 1999-2014 was listed as a Director of St Luke’s Hospital Oxford, which seems to be a care home. But there’s also a passing reference in Straw’s book to the ‘team’ of medical officers working for the Home Office who were employed on the Pinochet case! So there was Jack, John Grimley Evans and a team of Top Doctors – how did they all manage to get it so wrong?

I remember the case of Pinochet like it was yesterday, because by that time I had discovered how dishonest Dr Dafydd Alun Jones regularly was in his Court reports and I had shared this information with another Hergest patient who had also been stung by Dafydd. This patient entertained himself by ringing Dafydd whilst pretending to be calling from the Spanish embassy to ask Dafydd if he’d certify Pinochet fit for trial. Little did I know that that they might as well have asked Dafydd, his opinion would have been worth about as much as that of Straw, Evans and the Home Office medical officers.

The thing about poor old Jack and his claimed ignorance regarding the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors is that it doesn’t quite add up, whether it’s his Gov’ts lack of nous concerning the growing shit-storm at Mid-Staffs – or Top Docs concealing paedophile rings – or Pinochet’s health assessment. For a start Jack’s daughter Charlotte was a medical student and is now a Top Doctor herself. (Charlotte raised money for Cancer Research UK recently and requested donations to enable the noble scientists and Top Doctors at Cancer Research UK to find a ‘cure’. For  snapshot of what goes on at Cancer Research UK, see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’.) But Jack was very close indeed to someone who really will have known all about the Top Doctors and could have also found him a reliable expert witness to give an opinion on Pinochet – his wife Alice. Alice was a mandarin in the Dept of Health! Furthermore, Jack reveals that in 1997-8 Alice was a senior civil servant in the Treasury working for Gordon Brown, but shortly afterwards was appointed Director General in the DoH! Pinochet was flown back home in in 2000. Come on Alice – why didn’t you tell Jack? Ooh and why didn’t you explain to Jack that where grooming young people in care is concerned it really is not only Pakistani men up to no good – it wasn’t Pakistani men ‘grooming’ (ie. raping and trafficking) the kids in north Wales, it was the social services who were being assisted by the Top Doctors! And once those kids had been beaten into submission and were agreeing to have sex with anyone who asked, they were taken off down to London to have sex with folk in Westminster! Jack claimed to be clamping down on people trafficking in 2000…

Alice is not the only person who might have been able to enlighten Jack re child abuse/the use of psychiatry to conceal such abuse – that is if he didn’t already know something about it from his time working with Barbara Castle and Norman Warner in the DHSS between 1974-76. Jack’s early forays into politics were as a Councillor in Islington – which had a serious problem with a paedophile ring in it’s children’s homes. Jack was also a member of the notorious ILEA between 1971-74 and was Deputy Leader of ILEA 1973-74. Jack is not afraid to level criticism at ILEA in his book – he tells us that he knew that standards in inner London schools were often unacceptably low. There were close links between ILEA, the GLC and the London Councils – those Councils whose children’s services had been infiltrated by paedophiles.

Jack’s work on London Councils and with ILEA resulted in him rubbing noses with an awful lot of people who will have known about the paedophiles running riot in the children’s homes – because those buddies of Jack’s were running those Councils. Jack makes reference in his book to someone whom he admires greatly, the ‘inestimable’ Valerie Amos. Valerie is now Baroness Amos, but long ago at the dawn of time Valerie worked for Lambeth Borough Council – which had a child abuse problem among it’s children in care as big as that in Islington or in north Wales. Indeed, children from Lambeth were also sent up to homes in north Wales where they were molested. The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association from Lambeth are publishing their own accounts of the abuse to which they were subjected, so fed up are they of Gov’t investigations going nowhere. Lambeth Council has paid out millions in compensation to children who were abused in it’s care and it accepts that it will be paying out much more. As in Islington and north Wales, the Council was told what was happening to those kids but the Council let it continue. Amos describes her work with Lambeth as one of her ‘career achievements’ – others include her work with Camden Council and Hackney. Camden – she’ll know this blog’s old friends Tessa Jowell (see posts ‘The London Connection’ and ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng and Tessa Jowell’) and John Mills (see post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’) then! Like so many people who worked for or ran those London Councils in the 70s and 80s whilst paedophiles ran riot in the children’s services, Valerie used her ‘work’ on ‘equality and diversity’ with those councils as a springboard into a career in ‘equalities and diversity’ boosted by New Labour.

Between 1989-94 Valerie was Chief Exec of the Equal Opportunities Commission. In 1995 she formed Amos Fraser Bernard and was an advisor to the South African Gov’t on public service reform, human rights and employment equity. In August 1997 she was made a life peer and became the Secretary for International Development in Blair’s Cabinet. Amos acquired this position after Clare Short resigned. (Straw is incredibly rude about Clare Short in his book – did she have a few too many principles for you then Jack? Clare Short was not one for turning a blind eye as the shit that gathered under Blair mounted up.) In 2003 Amos took over as Leader of the Lords when the previous Leader, Lord Williams Of Mostyn, died. Jack liked him. Lord Williams of Mostyn featured in my post ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’ – he defended Gordon Anglesea after Gordon Anglesea sued Private Eye after the Eye accused him of molesting boys in children’s homes in north Wales. Anglesea won the case and shortly after the trial Mark Humphreys, the young man whom had given evidence that Anglesea had abused him, was found dead. Last year Gordon Anglesea was convicted of abusing boys in north Wales children’s homes and imprisoned. Valerie – standing on the shoulders of greats! Indeed, it was onwards and upwards.

Although Valerie left the Cabinet when Gordon Brown became PM, her stellar career didn’t stop. In 2007 she became a Director of Travant Capital Partners, a Nigerian private equity firm. Poor old Valerie ended up mired in allegations of corruption when it was revealed that Travant Capital had received £15 million from DFID, the Gov’t Dept that she used to lead.  In his book ‘Catholic Orangemen of Tongo’, Straw’s nemesis Craig Murray claims that he was told by a Director of Travant that the company ‘had access to DFID funds because Baroness Amos was a Director’.

In 2007 Amos also became the EU’s representative to the African Union. In 2010 she was appointed Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-Ordination.

In addition to these plum appointments, Valerie has had numerous others – she was the British High Commissioner to Australia and in 2015 she was appointed Director of SOAS (University of London). She was the Deputy Chair of the Runnymede Trust 1990-98, a Trustee of the IPPR, was involved with project Hope (an NGO promoting healthcare), was a Trustee of VSO and was a Director of Hampstead Theatre. Guess what else? In Sept 2008 Amos Chaired the GMC’s Equality and Diversity Forum! She has also been a non-executive director of University College London Hospitals Trust and between 1994-98 she was Chair of the Board of Governors at the Royal College of Nursing Institute.

So like so many who have been closely associated with organisations in which children were sexually abused and exploited, Valerie Amos is a good friend of the Top Doctors and Angels. A number of people have noticed that throughout her career in the higher echelons of public life, Valerie Amos has not been democratically elected to one position, they were all ‘appointments’. Well considering that Lambeth Borough Council oversaw the worst excesses of child abuse and ended up in such a financial mess that many of it’s Councillors were banned from office, I very much doubt that anybody would vote for anyone who had played a key role in that Council.

 

Jack’s book mentions a close colleague of his who also knew all about the shortcomings of Lambeth Borough Council who has starred on this blog recently – Paul Boateng (see post ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng And Tessa Jowell’). I have mentioned before that Paul’s wife Janet is a former Lambeth social worker. I have now read a bit more about the Tyra Henry case and Janet was involved up to her eye-balls. Tyra was a 22 month old girl who was murdered by her father Andrew in 1984. The case gained massive publicity because of the severe cruelty involved and the gross failings of Lambeth Borough Council. Tyra died two days after she had been left at a London hospital under a false name. She had suffered extreme physical abuse and there were 52 bite marks on her body. It transpired that her injuries had been inflicted by her father – Tyra had been allowed to live with him after he was released from prison, although there had previously been a decision not to allow this to happen. Before Tyra’s birth, her father had already assaulted her six month old brother, who was left blind and permanently brain damaged as a result of the attack – he was in care.  The Inquiry into Tyra’s death was led by Stephen Sedley QC – a colleague of Michael Mansfield and one of that generation of radical lawyers who did take on cases against the British state but who never seemed to be as outspoken as one would have expected about cases of abuse of children in care or the abuse of people in the mental health system.

In 1984 the Chair of Lambeth’s Social Services Committee was Janet Boateng. The Vice-Chair was Stephen Bubb. The aftermath of Tyra’s murder caused a massive rift between the Lambeth Councillors and the social workers employed by the Council (Janet of course had been in both positions.)  The Councillors and social workers both blamed each other for the dreadful state of the children’s services in Lambeth. It is reflective of the concerns of Lambeth Council at the time that the blame game wasn’t played out in terms of allegations of incompetence – it involved allegations of racism. Black Councillors maintained that white social workers were unable to work appropriately with black families and the white social workers made counter-allegations of not receiving ‘training’ and ‘support’ to work with black families. Where this left Janet Boateng who was black, a Councillor, Chairman of the Social Services Committee but had also worked as a social worker in the same Borough I do not know. I do know that it is ironic that the chaos and tragedy that presided in this Borough launched the careers of a group of people like Boateng and Amos, who were then lauded and honoured for their ‘services’ to equality and diversity. Amos’s biography is littered with references to her ‘firsts’ – the first black woman Cabinet Minister, the first black woman to become head of a UK university, one of the most influential black people in the UK etc. Whilst Amos and co played identity politics a little black girl was murdered – Tyra is not mentioned anywhere in the extensive guff about Lady Boateng or Lady Amos that is so readily available.

What was the fate of Boateng’s Vice-Chair, Stephen Bubb – a white man? Like the Ladies of Lambeth, Bubb has thrived. He is now Sir Stephen Bubb, Director of ‘Charity Futures’. His knighthood was awarded in 2011 for ‘services to the voluntary sector’.

Bubb describes himself as ‘influential in both the Labour and Conservative Parties’ with his ‘longstanding advocacy of charities replacing public services chiming with both parties’ policy of promoting competition and choice in areas such as healthcare’. Bubb has a website, ‘Bubb’s Blog’, and a recent post sees Bubb fuming angrily that the present Gov’t is ignoring the charity sector. I think that’s because of the embarrassment that was ‘Kid’s Company’ Stephen, it was a rather disillusioning process for those who promoted the idea of the ‘Big Society’. Bubb’s determined to ram his message home though, he’s very busy indeed working hard lobbying for the Third Sector. ‘Bubb’s Blog’ is currently hosting a ‘guest post’ by Henry Brook who is on ‘work experience’ with Bubb. Henry waxes lyrical about the global possibilities for the Third Sector and mentions that there’s a lot of wealthy people in China although Africa is still a bit too poor to participate in the jamboree.

Bubb is certainly a man who’s been on a political journey and who’ll work with anyone. In 1976 he was a research officer for the TGWU’s Jack Jones. In 1980 he was a negotiations officer for the NUT. Then there were his glorious achievements at Lambeth – Labour Party Member for Lambeth Borough Council from 1982 and Chief Whip to the Labour Group. In 1987 he was Lead Advisor concerning pay negotiations to the Association of Metropolitan Authorities (both Tessa Jowell and John Mills had positions on this body as well). In 1995 Stephen was Director of Personnel for the National Lottery Charity Board. Between 2000-06 he was Chief Exec for  ACEVO, the Association of Chief Execs of Voluntary Organisations. Since 2006 Stephen has been Chairman of the Adventure Capital Fund, a ‘social enterprise’ now administering ‘Communitybuilders’. He was Chairman of ‘Futurebuilders England’ in 2008. He founded ‘Charity Futures’ to ‘investigate the challenges to and provide support for the Third Sector for the next generation’ (does that translate as ‘my kids need a job now as well?’). In 2011 he was seconded to the Dept of Health as part of Andrew Lansley’s NHS ‘listening exercise’.

I haven’t actually researched all these different Third Sector organisations that Bubb has created – I know that’s remiss of me, but I suspect that I know what I will find. A very big gravy train, the passengers upon which will be other folk like Bubb, former Councillors from disastrous 80s Councils who did really well for themselves once Blair became PM and are still prospering as no-one dares mention the phrase ‘The King’s New Clothes’ now that they have been given gongs and been put in charge of so many things. Bubb became notorious for defending big salaries in the charity sector – he was paid in excess of £100k pa at ACEVO. ‘Bubb’s Blog’ tells us that he is ‘globally recognised’ and provides ‘strategic advice to Governments and businesses usually at Prime Minister, Minister, Mayor and Chairman level’. Bubb is Secretary General of the ‘European Third Sector Leaders Network’, which was ‘founded through his passion and drive’.

So what brought this globally-recognised-advisor-to-Prime Ministers’ career in local government to an end back in the 80s then? Lambeth Borough Council was one of the councils that refused to set a rate during the rate capping row with Margaret Thatcher’s Gov’t. Therefore the Councillors were surcharged for causing the Council financial loss through wilful misconduct. They were sacked and disqualified from office in 1986. Not that it held Stephen back from sitting in judgement on others – between 1980 and 2000 he served as a Youth Court Magistrate in Inner London.

Bubb has also dabbled with the Top Doctors – he was a member of the Local Health Boards of Guy’s Hospital and St Tommy’s Hospital.

Bubb found himself in the spotlight in 2013 when he held his 60th birthday party. I wouldn’t have thought that a birthday party could cause a diplomatic incident, but Bubb held a bash at the House of Lords with a number of cabinet ministers, Baronesses, media folk and charity leaders. They all had a great time and went back to Stephen’s place afterwards for champagne and fireworks. Stephen was particularly chuffed to receive a birthday card from Tony and Cherie. It was subsequently revealed that Stephen’s party had cost a great deal of money and that the bill had been footed not entirely by Stephen – although he is a very well-paid man – but partly by ACEVO. When questioned, ACEVO maintained that it was money well-spent because the party was ‘part of it’s [ACEVO’s] on-going work in building stakeholder relationships’.

The guest who made the welcoming speech at Stephen’s party – that was partly funded by people who were duped into believing that they were supporting charitable work – was Baroness Hayter. Dianne Hayter is the Deputy Leader of the Lords and is described as a ‘powerful advocate’ for the Third Sector. She is an old friend of Stephen’s from their Young Fabians days and was a founder member of ACEVO herself, whilst she was Director of ‘Alcohol Concern’. Bet she’s a mate of Tony and Cherie’s as well. Dianne is married to Professor David Caplin who works at Imperial College. David Caplin is a physicist – perhaps they have a bit more integrity than the Top Doctors at Imperial.

Whilst trumpeting the wonders of the Third Sector, Stephen tells us on his blog that ‘state provision often neglects the consumer or beneficiary’. That Stephen is because it was so often run by people like you and Janet Boateng – you neglected the beneficiary to such an extent that a little girl was murdered and even then you tried to tart it up as a race relations problem. The charity sector is now blighted with exactly the same problems as the state sector – because you lot have now moved in and colonised that. Stephen mentions on his blog that ‘more than a third of mental health services are provided by charities’. Yes and the leading story on all the news programmes today has been the scandalous state of the nation’s mental health services. This morning it was revealed that thousands of mental health patients are spending YEARS in hospital after they have been deemed to be fit for discharge because there is no accommodation for them and at lunchtime it was reported that Sir James Munby, the head of the Family Court, has been unable to find suitable psychiatric care for a suicidal teenaged girl. Munby has sated that if care for her cannot be found ‘society will have blood on it’s hands’. You obviously haven’t noticed Sir James – society has been awash with the blood of the mentally ill for decades. And you’ve only just woken up to it. No doubt Paul Farmer and Marjorie Wallace will pop up on the ‘Today’ programme tomorrow to give us all a lecture about the horrors of people remaining in hospital for years because of a lack of accommodation. Well why haven’t they mentioned it before? The rest of us knew that it was happening – in fact I e mailed a number of politicians about this some three years ago….

 

Many years ago a book was published called something like ‘The Court of The Blairs’ which was an account of some of the rather shallow, dysfunctional people lining their own nests who surrounded Tony and Cherie. Valerie Amos, Janet Boateng and Stephen Bubb are pretty good examples of the outer circle. (Blair’s inner circle was comprised of the likes of Silvio of course…)

 

Somebody else who might be able to enlighten us all regarding what was going on in Lambeth at the time of Tyra’s murder is a man whose name crops up in reports of the case from that time – the Chair of the British Association of Social Workers Southwark, John Wheeler. John Wheeler is now based in the north east of England – I suspect like some others who were previously associated with Lambeth, he’s air-brushed that bit out of his CV – and doubles up as ‘John Wheeler Solutions Ltd’. He has a website that bangs on about him having experience in ‘solution focussed’ practice and expertise in ‘training and development’. The site mentions his ‘thirty years experience as a social worker/family therapist’ and tells us that he has ‘co-developed a model for complex child protection issues’. Wheeler is a visiting lecturer in solution focussed practice, systemic practice and narrative therapy at the following Universities: Northumbria, Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland, Teeside. He teaches on the following courses: social work, psychology nursing, systemic practice and child protection.

John has published too – in ‘Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry’, on brief solution focussed therapy. The Hergest Unit used to offer that – Brown observed that it will certainly be brief but there won’t be many solutions. There weren’t many solutions for the therapist either. He was a nurse with a PhD who had been told by the North West Wales NHS Trust to pass himself off as a clinical psychologist. One of the many patients whom the Hergest Unit tried to frame for a crime that she didn’t commit found out about this and complained. The therapist was subsequently sacked – not for false representation, because the Trust had forced him into that, but for allegedly having a relationship with a patient. The therapist knew a friend of mine and his story was that he had actually only begun a relationship with the patient a year after she had been discharged after meeting her again at a party. But Ysbyty Gwynedd were smarting with embarrassment that they’d been caught misrepresenting the status and qualifications of their staff, so he was the scapegoat.

Like the esteemed Professors Poole and Robinson of Bangor University, John Wheeler has been paying visits to India to dispense his pearls of wisdom. He’s also been popping over to Poland to show them how it’s done. John’s website is advertising an ‘online certificate of competence’. He has helpfully provided diagrams and instructions concerning how to fold and read your certificate of competence if you’re too incompetent to work out how to do it.

I really do recommend a visit to John’s website. It can be summed up by one phrase – ‘Clare In The Community’.

John’s website doesn’t only detail his expertise regarding focussing on solutions. He plays in a ceilidh band and also recommends singing as a way to deal with stress and to bond with other people.

One has to be careful if one’s a service user and one does a bit of singing though. Some years ago there was a young man who was a patient at the Hergest Unit – he suffered from bouts of severe depression – who had two young children. His first baby was a girl and he was delighted – a couple of years later his wife became pregnant again and this time he thought that it would be really great if they could have a boy, one of each. His wife gave birth to a little boy and the day after the birth, this young man took his little girl for a walk in Snowdonia. He was so happy about the birth of his second child that he was singing. He was stopped by a policeman and interrogated regarding who the little girl with him was – on the grounds that he might not be suitable to be responsible for a little girl, what with him being a singing service user. The incident caused quite a furore, because his fuming wife contacted the local media. Both she and her husband gave interviews regarding the idiocy of a young father being stopped by the police because he was singing in the woods. About ten years after this incident, the young man sadly became ill with depression again and killed himself. I knew his wife – she told me that it was heartbreaking, both she and he knew that he was becoming very depressed again but they didn’t know why. There was no help forthcoming from the Hergest Unit – by this time the day centre had been closed and Alun Davies et al had just about destroyed ‘the service’ completely. But at least north Wales was crawling with those experts in suicide prevention that I have previously blogged about and dear old David Healy was making regular media appearances.

Someone else whom Jack Straw will know who has knowledge of the insanity at Lambeth is Lord Herman Ouseley, the former Chair and Chief Exec of the Commission for Racial Equality 1993-2000.  Before he made his career in ‘equality and diversity’, Herman was Chief Exec of ILEA and Chief Exec of Lambeth! (Herman has removed all references to Lambeth from his wiki entry, but he was very much there.) Herman has been at the ‘forefront of challenging institutional racism in organisations’. Like so many of his contemporaries who were involved in running the car crash at Lambeth, Herman is now a management consultant advising on equality and diversity issues. It was Herman who introduced Paul Boateng, husband of Janet, to the Lords when Boateng was given a peerage.

Following hot on the heels of Herman as the Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality was Gurbux Singh. Sing hadn’t worked for Lambeth but he had been just about everywhere else that managed to disgrace itself in the 1980s – the GLC, Hackney, Brent and Haringey. Gurbux ended up as Chief Exec of Haringey Council and he was there at the time that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones rang them up to have a word with them about me when Dafydd discovered that I would be living there after I left the North Wales Hospital Denbigh! Gurbux – how did you know a crazed old bugger in north Wales who was concealing a paedophile ring? Gurbux was a member of Jack Straw’s Race Relations Forum when Straw was Home Secretary and was also an advisor to the Association of London Government and a member of our old friend the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. No doubt Gurbux would have been elevated to the Lords by Blair as well if only he hadn’t come unstuck at a cricket match in 2002 by getting pissed, threatening a policeman and getting himself arrested. The incident caused him to resign from the CRE. This wasn’t because of the drunkenness or the arrest, it was because Singh told the policeman that he (Singh) knew Ian Blair the Deputy Commissioner of the Met – now Lord Blair, a big mate of another man called Blair – and would have the policeman sacked.

Yet another old lag who made a career out of her ‘expertise’ in equality and diversity was Judith Hunt. Judith used to edit the GLC magazine ‘Equalities’. Judith is now Judith Hunt OBE and runs an outfit called ‘Judith Hunt Associates Ltd’. She is of course an ‘executive coach’ and ‘consultant’ ‘working across the sectors’ dispensing advice on ‘diversity and equalities’. She is a Board Member for Transport for London and a Member of the Audit Committee there.

Judith’s previous positions include: National Officer and Assistant General Secretary of ‘a national trade union’ (she doesn’t say which one, so presumably there’s been a bit of trouble there); Director of Personnel at the GLC; Chief Exec at London Borough of Ealing for 7 years; Chief Exec of Local Gov’t Management Board 1993-99; Chair of Camden and Islington Health Authority 2000-02; Chair, London Health Observatory 2002-06.

Come on Judith, with a CV like that you’ll have known something about the abuse of children and the associated cover-up by the Top Doctors.

Judith was a Board Member of the CPS, 2002-05. The CPS that could not explain why it did not prosecute Greville Janner and numerous other high profile child abusers – including the dozens in north Wales against whom there was substantial evidence. Judith is now a non-executive director of the CPS and the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. She has contributed to the delivery of the CPS Diversities strategy.

Judith has also contributed to the Civil Service Commission and the ESRC Research Priorities Board – so that’s why the ESRC does what it’s told by the Gov’t, even when the agenda is obviously so lame!

People actually pay Judith for her advice – including the NHS and Dept of Health.

The website of ‘Judith Hunt Associates Ltd’ is well worth a visit as they used to say on ‘Blue Peter’, because one can click on the various people who assist in her consultancy. They are all as equally vacuous as Judith and use very similar phrases to describe their work, phrases which are actually meaningless. Judith curiously claims to carry out ‘health checks’. Which is seriously weird, because I don’t think that she’s a Top Doctor, even if the NHS and DoH are wasting good money on her ‘advice’.

Another former leader of Lambeth (1986-88) who could answer a few questions is Linda Bellos – she too is now a management consultant, ‘Linda Bellos Associates’ – in equalities and diversity, although Linda specialises in LGBT issues. Linda was one of the Lambeth Councillors who resigned over the rate capping saga – and I think that she was the leader when the Council finally imploded. Linda has advised the British Army, the Met, the CPS and the Association of Chief Police Officers!

 

So there we have it, a bunch of people who ran the most dangerous, chaotic Councils in England – whose children’s services were pervaded by paedophiles – many of whom ended up being disqualified from office and who effectively bankrupted their authorities. Who better for Blair to elevate to the Lords and appoint to lead Gov’t Commissions, advise the NHS, the police, the CPS etc on ‘equality’? It was after all only the most disadvantaged children in the country who suffered and died in the ‘services’ that they ran.

There are two other people who might be able to answer questions as well, although they are not friends of Tony and Cherie. One is Ted Knight, who was leader of Lambeth Borough Council from 1978. Ted was disqualified from office but for many years remained active in Unite. However, when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, Ted announced his re-entry into politics and he’s now busy in Lambeth once more. The other is a man called John McDonnell, who was involved in the GLC and hung around a lot with Ted and co. This John McDonnell will know something. I wonder where he is now…

 

NB. I heard on the news earlier that Rogue Top Doctor Ian Paterson has had his prison sentence increased. The judge who increased it made a speech about a shocking breach of trust, how could any Top Doctor ever behave in such a way etc etc. I’ve got news for Lady Justice Hallett – plenty of them are capable of doing so. After all I’ve got 10,000 documents showing that scores of them concealed a paedophile ring and tried to have me imprisoned by perjuring themselves. No doubt when Paterson is eventually released, the GMC will put him back on the register and double his pension pot to compensate for his lost earnings whilst he was inside. There has also been a GP in east London arrested for numerous sexual assaults on patients. Is that the sound of loud snoring that I can still hear coming from the direction of north Wales?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More On Those Who Signed That Early Day Motion

Recent posts ‘More On Those Prisons For Folk Who Dared Complain’ and ‘Further Information On Garth Angharad Hospital’ have discussed the horror that was Garth Angharad, a ‘hospital’ for ‘mentally abnormal criminals’ near Dolgellau, owned and managed by Paul Hett, a now struck-off solicitor who also owned three schools/children’s homes where allegations of sexual abuse and cruelty were made. I explained how people who had complained about being sexually abused in children’s homes in north Wales seemed to end up in Garth Angharad and how ‘professionals’ associated with Garth Angharad were involved with criminal activities. My post ‘Further Information On Garth Angharad Hospital’ described how in 1992 there was an attempt to close Garth Angharad, but Elfyn Llwyd, a lawyer and the Plaid MP for the region, tabled an early day motion in the House to keep this unaccountable prison for those who had been abused open. The Early Day Motion was signed by nine other MPs – Dafydd Wigley, Ieuan Wyn Jones, Ken Livingstone, Alun Michael, Martyn Jones, Paul Flynn, Simon Hughes, Thomas Graham and Nigel Jones. By 1992 there had been huge media coverage of the north Wales paedophile ring and there had even been a few prosecutions and convictions of social care workers – it was also known that the region’s mental health services were deeply troubled. The MPs who signed that Early Day Motion will not have been unaware that something terrible was happening in the north Wales social services and mental health services.

My post ‘Further Information On Garth Angharad Hospital’ discusses local politicians Elfyn Llwyd, Dafydd Wigley and Ieuan Wyn Jones and their connections – but what of the others who signed?

Paul Flynn. I know of Paul Flynn as being the MP for Newport in south Wales – I also remember him on the Kane Debates in the 1990s, robustly arguing with Dafydd Alun Jones himself when Dafydd was busy trying to conjure up images of reefer madness in north Wales. So why would Paul Flynn have an interest in keeping one of Dafydd and co’s personal prisons open? Paul Flynn is from south Wales and most of his career has been spent there – however, he has a Denbigh connection. In the 1974 General Election Flynn was the Labour candidate for Denbigh. In the same election, Ieuan Wyn Jones was the Plaid candidate for Denbigh! Of course Denbigh was one of those towns dominated by the asylum – nearly everybody living in Denbigh either worked at the North Wales Hospital or had a relative who worked there. It was the main employer in that area – and other job opportunities would have been far less well-paid. Property was cheap – because of the economic situation in north Wales – so with a job at the North Wales Hospital if you could stomach the abuses going on out there you could live a rather more comfortable life than many other people in the region. There were of course an awful lot of patients banged up in Denbigh – hundreds of them – but they didn’t have a vote. In 1974 Gwynne the lobotomist still ruled the institution with an iron fist and Dafydd had been out there for years, so he was well settled in. Patients illegally banged up, being sexually abused, physically assaulted, some dying in suspicious circumstances? Paul and Ieuan weren’t going to say a word about that what with wanting to get elected. Presumably the connections that Paul made in Denbigh were strong enough to ensure that he signed that Early Day Motion many years later – what ever would happen if people who alleged serious wrongdoing in the health and welfare services in north Wales were not discredited and silenced? I also note that the seat in Newport that Flynn won in 1987 had been previously occupied by Mark Robinson – Mark Robinson was one of the Tory MPs who was busy assisting the north Wales mental health services when I made complaint about them and tried to access my records. It has also just occurred to me that if Flynn lost out to the Tories in Denbigh in 1974, there may well have been a Tory MP there when I was raising concerns about criminal activity and abuse in the North Wales Hospital in the late 80s, which would explain further why the Welsh Office under Thatcher was colluding with the aforementioned criminality – I will investigate further…

Simon Hughes. Now Sir Simon Hughes. For many years was LibDem MP for Bermondsey and Southwark, famously taking part in the dirty tricks campaign that was launched against Peter Tatchell when he stood against Simon Hughes for the seat in 1983. Much abuse was hurled at Tatchell because of his support for gay rights. Many years later – when it would not damage his career – Hughes admitted that he had had gay relationships. He now describes himself as bisexual. Hughes was appointed a Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties in 2013 – he is also a lawyer, so he knows what criminal activity looks like. Hughes does have a connection with Wales in that he went to school in south Wales. When he signed that Early Day Motion however he was MP for Bermondsey and Southwark. Now I don’t know if there was anyone from London sent to Garth Angharad, but children from London authorities were being sent to the schools and children’s homes owned by Paul Hett.

Alun Michael. Currently South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner. When he signed the Early Day Motion, Alun Michael was a Labour MP in Cardiff. He was born on Anglesey and went to school in Colwyn Bay.  His wiki entry states that for many years he was a ‘youth and community worker’, although it doesn’t say where. His north Wales roots and career in ‘youth and community work’ suggest that he’ll have had a pretty good idea of the shenanigans happening in the health and welfare services in north Wales. Alun Michael is best known of course for being Blair’s choice of First Minister for Wales – Blair foisted him upon the newly created Welsh Assembly Government, there was massive resentment, Michael resigned after a few months and Rhodri Morgan ended up as First Minister, whom everyone had wanted in the first place. Alun Michael’s wiki entry does actually discuss paedophilia. He was quoted as saying whilst he was a Home Office Minister under Blair’s regime that ‘there’d be no hiding place for paedophiles’ (although their victims were being hidden in Garth Angharad of course), but disappointed a lot of people after the murder of 8 year old Sarah Payne by not implementing the proposed ‘Sarah’s Law’ ie. informing the public if a paedophile was living in the area. Alun Michael was responsible however for the Crime and Disorder Bill which introduced ASBOs -which famously criminalised numerous vulnerable people, including children with mental health problems… Footnote: At one point, during that period of time when reports into the north Wales paedophile ring were being redacted and pulped, Rhodri Morgan made some very angry comments regarding the outrageous situation of the presence of a paedophile ring in north Wales yet the identities of those involved being concealed. Well never mind Alun fucking Michael and Blair Rhodri, read all about it on this blog – the names of the guilty parties are all over the documents now in my possession.

Martyn Jones. At the time of signing the Early Day Motion, Jones was Labour MP for Clwyd South. He was born in Wrexham – Wrexham was the location of the children’s homes where the north Wales paedophile ring conducted most of their activities and Clwyd is the region containing the North Wales Hospital. He’ll have known. Interestingly enough, Martyn Jones was a very vocal critic of the former Chief Constable of North Wales, Richard Brunstrom. Many people used Mr Brunstrom’s obsession with speeding motorists as a stick to beat him with, but there was another reason why some people had a problem with Richard Brunstrom – he was famously not corrupt and indeed sacked a few senior officers for corruption. Including Elfed Roberts, who then became the Chairman of the North West Wales NHS Trust.

Nigel Jones. At the time of signing the Early Day Motion, Nigel Jones was LibDem MP for Cheltenham. Apart from politics, his main career seems to have been in computing, although since leaving the Commons he has been involved in PR work. I can find no connection between Nigel Jones and Wales at all, so why he would be joining in the lobbying to keep the personal prison of Dafydd and the paedophile gang open I do not know. However Nigel Jones was involved in a major drama in 2000. He was the MP who was attacked by a man with a Samurai sword – he was protected by his parliamentary assistant who was unfortunately murdered in the attack. Jones sustained wounds to his hand. The attacker, Robert Ashman, was found mentally unfit to stand trial and was sent to Broadmoor for observation. He later stood trial for attempted murder and manslaughter. It transpired that in 1992, the year that he was elected, Jones had written Ashman a character reference after Ashman broke the ribs of a tax collector. Someone is obviously very grateful to Jones for something because he has now been given a peerage, after an undistinguished political career, the only highlight of which was someone trying to murder him. I remember Jones speaking publicly after his assistant was murdered – from what he said, I presumed that the man who had attacked him was a ‘service user’ who had been released from hospital with sod all care. Jones was fuming about the ‘idiots – and they are idiots’ who were letting these people out. But there is no mention anywhere that Ashman had previously been involved with the mental health services. If any readers can shed any light on why a man from Cheltenham signed an Early Day Motion to keep Dafydd and the paedophile gang’s prison open as soon as he entered the Commons, or why in the same year he wrote a character reference for a violent man who later tried to murder him or how the bloody hell he ever ended up with a peerage, please do contact me. I’d also be very interested to know why Robert Ashman wanted to murder Nigel Jones and what the conclusion of dear old Broadmoor was after ‘observing’ Ashman – the Broadmoor that at the time was still associated with one Jimmy Savile.

Thomas Graham. Was a Labour MP in Scotland when he signed the Early Day Motion. I can find no link between him and Wales. However Mr Graham seems to have been a controversial character. After he died he was described as ‘larger than life’ (which is often used to conceal a multitude of sins when it’s distasteful to actually detail them because for example the person involved has just died). It seems that at one point a colleague of Thomas Graham’s committed suicide, leaving behind a note alleging that Thomas Graham had smeared him by accusing him of having a homosexual affair with a 17 year old employee of Graham’s. An investigation was conducted by the Labour Party into allegations that Graham had blackmailed the dead man and Graham was expelled for bringing the Party into disrepute. Graham dismissed the investigation as a ‘sham’. Whatever the truth was, it seems that something very unpleasant indeed had gone on. If any readers have any clues as to what any of this – or anything else involving Thomas Graham – might have to do with Garth Angharad, please let me know.

Ken Livingstone. When Ken signed the Early Day Motion he was Labour MP for Brent east, of course best known as Red Ken, former leader of the GLC, the man associated with the London ‘loony left’. I have found no mention of Ken having any connections with Wales, but of course, as I have mentioned, London authorities were sending youngsters to the children’s homes/schools owned by Paul Hett who also owned and managed Garth Angharad. However, before Ken became leader of the GLC, in the early 70s he was involved in local politics in Lambeth and was the Chair of Lambeth Housing Committee. Later on, Lambeth County Hall was the home of the GLC. (At a later date, the GLC HQ was in Southwark – Simon Hughes’s constituency!) Readers may have noticed that Lambeth has featured in the national news recently. It has been admitted that there was serious en masse sexual abuse happening in the children’s homes there and a complete failure to protect children from organised paedophiles – millions has already been paid out in compensation and many millions more is expected to be paid. A group of people known as the Shirley Oaks Survivors have walked out of the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse Chaired by Prof Alexis Jay, denouncing it as a ‘social workers talking shop’. They make the salient point that it was social workers who molested them so they really cannot be expected to have faith in an enquiry led by a social worker. The Shirley Oaks Survivors have published their own account of events and have named the people whom they claim were responsible for abusing them….

Over the past few weeks I have taken an increasingly greater interest in the connections between the paedophile gangs that are now known to have been operating in children’s services in different areas of the UK, including London, and their links with north Wales as well as the mental health services. This is worthy of a blog post in itself and I’ll be writing it very soon….

Just a note about north Wales. Ieuan Wyn Jones has now been selected as Plaid candidate for Ynys Mon for the forthcoming General Election. Blog post ‘Normal Service Resumed – News Round-Up, March 8 2017’ details problems of child abuse in services commissioned by Anglesey County Council. Should Ieuan become their MP, things won’t look too good for people needing health and social care services on Anglesey – as if Anglesey hasn’t already got enough problems with a Council known to be mired in corruption and a few councillors who have ended up in prison.

 

Hospital Hoppers and People Who ‘Are Not Really Ill’

Mail Online is reporting a rather sad story involving a ‘hospital hopper’. No, hospital hoppers are not a species of NHS flea, ‘hospital hopper’ is the derogatory label that NHS staff attach to a patient who feigns illness. Of course this is a recognised condition – in it’s extreme form it is Munchausen’s Syndrome, although lay people will usually use the term ‘hypochondriac’. The ‘hopper’ in question is 61 year old Christopher Dearlove, described by Mail Online as Britain’s ‘worst hypochondriac’ (an interesting notion coming from a ‘news’ website that does it’s best to reassure all readers that they are about to be clobbered with cancer or dementia). It transpires that Mr Dearlove has spent many years turning up at hospitals across the UK trying to convince the staff within them that he is ill and needs medical care. In the past he has ‘faked’ AIDS and Ebola. It would appear that a number of hospitals have co-ordinated with each other regarding Mr Dearlove – he was issued with an ASBO banning him from every hospital in the UK unless he  is ‘genuinely’ ill. He broke this ASBO when he attended a hospital in Grimsby and claimed to have Ebola – he was imprisoned. Mr Dearlove was back in Court in Somerset today, for attending Yeovil hospital – I note that the Judge, Martin Meeke, has ordered ‘psychological reports’. It doesn’t take much in-depth medical knowledge to know that Mr Dearlove is clearly a man in some distress. Mail Online touchingly describes him as feigning illness to obtain ‘food and accommodation’ from the NHS. No, that is not why ‘hoppers’ do what they do – there is a body of knowledge regarding what may cause someone to develop Munchausen’s and accessing B&B does not feature. If Mr Dearlove’s motive was simply after a bed and free food he could for example disguise himself as homeless and turn up at a night shelter or exploit charities like Crisis. He doesn’t – he takes the time and trouble to research the symptoms of serious medical conditions and travels the length of the country attempting to persuade hospitals to treat him for these non-existent conditions, which is a risky business in itself. However, as the NHS seems to have deemed Mr Dearlove a problem, what’s the betting that the ‘psychological report’ requested by the Judge will construct him as a lying criminal – a malingerer! – and he’ll be on the path to prison once more. Mail Online stresses how much money Mr Dearlove has cost the NHS – failing to acknowledge that if resources had been directed into treating his (very serious) condition, it would have been far cheaper in the long term than co-ordinating a nationwide effort across the NHS and dragging him through Courts and prisons. But as the cases of several patients from north Wales demonstrate – including mine – the NHS spares no expense if it chooses to target patients and subsequently criminalise them.

The first time that I heard the expression ‘hospital hopper’ was when I was on Seiriol Ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd, one of the psychiatric wards in existence before the Hergest Unit was built. A young woman who gave every impression of having learning difficulties and epilepsy was admitted. She was very vague about where she was from and appeared to have a number of grand mal seizures during the night that she was on Seiriol Ward. A very interesting conversation subsequently took place between the staff. One male nurse was boasting that he’d ‘seen through her’, that she ‘wasn’t really ill’ and that she had been ordered to leave the hospital because she was a ‘hopper’. It transpired that he hadn’t seen through her at all, Ysbyty Gwynedd had actually received a phone call from a hospital in Liverpool warning them that a ‘hopper’ was doing the rounds and that she had been kicked out of a hospital in Liverpool earlier that day. After she was booted out of Ysbyty Gwynedd there was very nearly an all out row between the ward staff. One nurse – who was one of the nurses who later joined the exodus from the Hergest Unit because she had correctly identified that practice there had become so poor that the Unit was unsafe – stated very firmly that if the ‘hopper’ was faking illness in order to spend time in a hospital, then there was something wrong and she had actually turned up at the right place when she arrived at the psychiatric ward. This nurse was livid that the young woman had been kicked out of the hospital in the middle of the night with no concern shown for her safety. The other nurses were actually using the phrase ‘but she’s not our problem’. Well of course she wasn’t, because they’d refused to treat her for a serious recognised mental illness.

There is another worrying element when the NHS deems patients to be ‘not really ill’. When a service goes as badly wrong as the north Wales mental health services have, it is used very conveniently to refuse care or treatment to people who have, for example, complained about the service. This blog has discussed this phenomenon extensively, but so far I have only blogged about it in relation to the (many) patients who were labelled by the Hergest Unit as having a ‘borderline personality disorder’ – many of whom sooner or later died.

There was another diagnosis at work in north Wales as well – ‘factitious illness’. Indeed, Bangor had it’s own ‘expert’ in factitious illness who even had a position in Bangor University’s School of Psychology as an honorary senior lecturer – the notorious Dr Laurence Chesterman (he has now done a runner and has ended up in England, but he is continuing his activities there). Chesterman was a ‘forensic psychiatrist’ who popped up all over the UK as an ‘expert witness’ in Court cases. But like a number of other ‘expert witnesses’ who have starred on this blog, Chesterman did not always feel compelled to tell the truth. On one of the many occasions when the Hergest Unit had me arrested for a non-crime – they had accused me of ‘criminal damage’ on the grounds that I’d tried to ‘kick down a door’, although it subsequently transpired that they could not point to any damage incurred by the said door, not even a footprint, which rather suggests that I did not try to kick it down – I was hauled off down to Caernarfon Police Station, where some very odd things happened, even by the standards of the north Wales mental health services.

When I arrived at Caernarfon Police Station, the police stated that they wanted a mental health assessment – although I had been arrested and taken to the Police Station from the Hergest Unit, where I had been an inpatient. So I hung about for hours until an on call social worker arrived, a woman named Barbara Williams. Like so many mental health assessments conducted in north Wales, there were some very strange questions asked. Among the most baffling that Barbara Williams asked me, after I had mentioned meeting a friend in Safeways Café for a coffee before I’d been admitted to hospital, was ‘do you go to Safeways often?’ I have never worked out the relevance of that question. After this ‘assessment’, Barbara Williams gave her opinion to the duty officer that I ‘should not be involved with the mental health services’. Because I hadn’t kicked any doors in at any time, the police were preparing to let me go, when an incredibly aggressive male prisoner was brought in who started screaming and swearing sexualised abusive comments at me, including rape threats. I yelled at him to get away from me – and Williams starting shouting at me, yelling ‘that’s enough’. Yeah well, I was only being threatened with rape by a man who was nearly breaking free from the police officers who had hold of him. The police finally got this git into a cell and I then started to walk out of the Police Station. As I walked out, I heard footsteps behind me and I heard the duty sergeant say ‘goodnight doctor’. I wondered what was going on, because I hadn’t been seen by a doctor that evening – I didn’t turn around to look because the dear old Hergest were involved as well as a mad social worker, so I wanted to get out of that Station as soon as I could before I was arrested on another trumped up charge. But when my lawyer finally obtained the documents relating to events in the Police Station that night, imagine my surprise when we discovered a report compiled by Barbara Williams stating that Dr Laurence Chesterman had stated that I was not depressed (which is what I’d been admitted to the Hergest Unit for before they had me arrested). The implication was that Chesterman had taken part in the assessment at the Police Station – Williams would not legally have been allowed to carry out such an assessment alone. I did not see Chesterman that day in Caernarfon Police Station. Indeed, I have never clapped eyes on Chesterman. Was he in the Station that day? Was he the person whom the duty sergeant wished goodnight as I left the Station? I can only conclude that Chesterman was in the Station that day and basically hid from me, but put in an appearance there so that it was recorded on the Police records and he then fabricated a report with Williams – or that there wasn’t a doctor at the Station that day and the sergeant was hallucinating.

Chesterman’s ‘expert opinions’ have caused wider concern. Before I didn’t meet him at Caernarfon Police Station, I had read about him in the Guardian. He had given ‘expert’ evidence in a case in which a teenaged girl who had previously been gang raped had physically assaulted a man, who I think was one of the men who had attacked her. The defence were raising questions as to her psychological state, but Chesterman gave evidence that she was ‘remarkably robust’ and being gang raped at the age of 15 hadn’t really affected her negatively at all. There were a lot of questions asked regarding Chesterman over this case. Chesterman appeared in a few more cases that raised the alarm and I was told by one lawyer that it was known that Chesterman was ‘for hire’. Chesterman was regularly wheeled out by the prosecution to state that defendants whose mental health was called into question were simply faking. And Chesterman Knew, because after all he had a ‘research interest’ in ‘factitious illness’. Chesterman eventually achieved enormous media coverage when he gave evidence in the case of Joanne Hills. Joanne Hills was a lady who for many years had cared for a severely disabled daughter and one day murdered her – I think by drowning – and then drove around with her daughter’s body in her car until she turned up at a police station completely distraught and explained that she’d murdered her daughter because she just couldn’t cope any longer. Evidence from the police confirmed that Joanne was in a very bad way indeed. There was however one person who was very angry with Joanne – her husband, the father of the girl that she had killed. The marriage seemed to have been in great difficulties and Joanne had admitted to a fling with another man. I seem to remember reading that Joanne had developed a drink problem as well as severe depression. Joanne’s husband had not seemed to notice any of this and had left her to look after their daughter singlehandedly. Joanne was arrested and charged with murder and the defence case was that she had been severely mentally ill at the time of the killing. People following the case presumed that it would almost certainly be considered a case of diminished responsibility and that Joanne would be given a Hospital Order. But then Chesterman came into the equation. Chesterman gave evidence that Joanne Hills was not depressed. At all. Even though she spent the whole of the trial in a heap crying uncontrollably, unable to answer questions. And the basis of Chesterman’s conclusion? That Joanne Hills had had sex the night before the murder. So presumably depressed people don’t have sex. Ever. Even women, who don’t have to be quite as active as a man when having sex and if they’re in that much of a state could just sort of lie there whilst their partner does the business. Joanne was found guilty – the jury obviously didn’t realise that they had just watched a man who sometimes told Very Big Lies giving evidence. However the Judge obviously took Chesterman’s expert opinion with a big pinch of salt – by the time that the sentence was announced, Joanne was in such a state that the Judge ordered her to be transferred to hospital as soon as she arrived at prison – he had of course been obliged to send her to prison because she’d been found guilty of murder. So thanks to Chesterman she had to do a little detour through the prison gates and into a cell before going on to a hospital. Which is quite obviously where she should have been. This case even caught the interest of ‘Take A Break’ magazine, who ran a readers poll, ‘Joanne Hills, Mad or Bad?’ The readers of ‘Take A Break’ are quite keen on the idea of capital punishment and rapists being relieved of their testicles, but even they managed to conclude that Joanne was ill.

However between encountering the ‘hopper’ in Seiriol Ward and not encountering Laurence Chesterman, I witnessed over a period of a couple of years how the Hergest Unit responded to another patient who was deemed to be ‘not really ill’. This was a young woman whom I shall call M, who used to regularly attempt to damage or kill herself in quite violent ways and was frequently admitted to the Hergest Unit. When she wasn’t actually an inpatient, M was a regular at the day hospital run by the Hergest Unit. It was patently obvious that although the staff were letting it be known that M ‘wasn’t really ill’ and had ‘social problems’, M was very distressed. Although it transpired that she was actually in her late twenties, M had the appearance of a teenaged boy and the mannerisms of a child of about five years old, although she did not have learning disabilities. It was very clear that the staff of the Hergest Unit, particularly the psychiatrists, considered her an absolute pain. She was certainly very difficult – she had a desperate desire to be in hospital constantly and every time she was discharged within days she would have tried to kill herself or injured herself and end up being readmitted. But the Hergest Unit went into battle with her in a very destructive way. Rather than acknowledging that something must have been dreadfully wrong in her psyche or her life, they began responding to her as callously as possible – and the staff who had been very patient and caring towards her were instructed to stop being so understanding. It didn’t work and the suicide attempts and broken bones continued. Then the Hergest Unit devised the most unbelievable ‘care plan’ for M. I should explain at this point that M had been removed from the care of her birth parents when she six – they were heroin addicts and had been deemed incapable of looking after a child – and she had been ‘taken into care’. In north Wales. (Maybe, just maybe, that might have been the clue as to her difficult behaviour?) At some point after that, M had been fostered by a married couple who were social workers themselves. M seemed to have fallen out with this couple in a very big way just before she started to make appearances at the Hergest Unit and commence the suicide attempts. The account that she gave to the rest of us was that they had caught her smoking inside the house (M smoked quite heavily which was of course inconsistent with her trying to pass herself off as a young child and her foster parents had a rule that she could only smoke in the porch, not inside) and had hit the roof. M maintained that her foster father had physically attacked her, thrown her out of the house and told her that they wanted no more to do with her. I think that the police were called to take her away. Now even if M had been driving the foster parents around the twist, I would imagine that this would have been vey traumatic for M and two social workers who had also been foster parents would have realised this – M had never had a boyfriend, didn’t have any close friends and didn’t know her birth family. Her foster parents were all that she had. I was told that she kept trying to return to them but they refused to have her back, which was how she had ended up in the Hergest Unit. But back to the Hergest Unit’s care plan. It was announced that because M ‘hadn’t formed attachments in north Wales’ (she had of course, but the foster parents to whom she had formed an attachment did not want her anywhere near them), it would be best for her if she started anew somewhere else. Yet she had only ever known north Wales. But her birth parents, it was discovered, were living in the south of England. So she was ‘counselled’ into making contact with her birth parents – whom she did not actually know – with a view to moving to the south of England to return to the bosom of her family. She was instructed to pay them a visit to meet them, then there were just a few more visits to ‘get to know them’ and that was it, she was off. Transferred to the south of England. To a place that she didn’t know and for her only contacts to be two parents whom she had been removed from when she was six and whom she had lost contact with. We later heard that within three weeks of moving to England that M had thrown herself off a bridge and broken her back. She never returned to north Wales – well her foster parents didn’t want her there and the mental health services certainly didn’t and after all she had ‘family’ in the south of England – and I suspect that she is probably dead by now.

Whilst all this was happening, back in the late 1990s, the patients were all aghast at the ‘care plan’ that had been devised for M – it was pretty obvious that it was not going to result in a happy ending. We just thought that the Hergest Unit were desperate to wash their hands of her because she was a nuisance. Since then of course, we have all learnt a lot more about what was happening to children in care in north Wales – en masse serious physical cruelty and sexual abuse – and just what Gwynedd Social Services and the mental health services were doing behind the scenes to silence people or rid themselves of people who had knowledge of the unsavoury conduct of the health and welfare services. M’s foster parents were social workers. If they wanted M out of the region they would have been in a position to arrange that – the evidence from my case alone demonstrates the degree of collusion that was taking place between the Hergest Unit and Gwynedd Social Services in the serial attempts to imprison me. Furthermore, M’s psychiatrist at the Hergest Unit was the man who is referred to on this blog as Dr X – the man who killed himself as the reinvestigations into the north Wales paedophile ring began, the man who worked behind the scenes with Lucille Hughes, Director of Gwynedd Social Services (who was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that the paedophile ring was operating in the Social Services but failed to respond), in an attempt to have me declared ‘dangerous’ and banged up in a secure hospital. Might there have been a reason, beyond the fact that she was a serious self-harmer, for people in Gwynedd Social Services and the mental health services to want M out of the region? Most of the victims of the north Wales paedophile ring were boys, but there were assaults on some girls as well. And of course the kids in care, boys as well as girls, knew what had been going on. I mentioned earlier that M didn’t have a boyfriend. M in fact seemed to feel very anxious at the thought of sexual relationships. One day another patient made a joke about sex – it wasn’t a crude joke or particularly threatening, just a passing comment really. M put on her five year olds persona and stated ‘I don’t understand that joke, I don’t know about things like that’ and scarpered. On another occasion, it was M’s birthday and another patient, a young woman, bought her a present. This young woman had been quite stylish (although that soon disappeared once the Hergest Unit got hold of her) and followed fashion in the more upmarket women’s magazines – she came from a family rather more affluent that most of the other patients and was able to afford quite expensive gear and was generous with presents as well. And on M’s birthday she gave M a high fashion basque – M went apeshit, threw the basque back at her and yelled ‘how dare you, I’m not that sort of girl’. At the time this was just taken to be another aspect of M being a bit unpredictable and people felt rather embarrassed on behalf of the young women who had given the present – M had clearly felt that she was being prepared for life in a brothel. But I’m wondering if I can join up a few dots all these years later – a girl who’d grown up in care in a region where a paedophile ring was running riot in the children’s homes feels terribly uncomfortable with sexuality, is inexplicably thrown out of house and home by two foster carers who were also social workers and transferred to the ‘care’ of a mental health service that showed a staggering degree of callousness towards her extreme distress and is then transported to a new existence in the south of England on the flimsiest of excuses where she attempts to kill herself upon arrival. But she doesn’t ever come back to north Wales.

At the same time that M was transported to England, demands were being made for an investigation to be held into the north Wales paedophile ring and the Jillings Report was underway. And people who had grown up in care in north Wales who had complained of being sexually abused were being found dead on a regular basis. I wonder what it was that M knew.