‘The Reality Is, There Is No Problem’

My post ‘Everywoman?’ and the comments that follow it refer to the clique of utterly dreadful people who have occupied senior positions in health and social care in Wales for many years now. This bunch have spent their whole careers playing musical chairs – when they stuff up so badly that they just have to go, they pop up somewhere else in a very similar role, very often at a more senior level. The word ‘incestuous’ really is the only description applicable. Posts ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’ and ‘I Know Nuzzing…’ detailed how it was this process of recycling incompetent or downright dangerous staff and managers that led to North Wales Child Abuse Scandal of the 70s, 80s and 90s. The Waterhouse Inquiry was supposed to have been the turning point. Of course it wasn’t, because although Ronnie Waterhouse admitted that terrible abuse of children in care had happened and that a paedophile ring was at work in north Wales and Cheshire, he concealed the extent of it and the links with public figures as far away as London, as well as evidence of links to abusers of children in Europe. Waterhouse also ignored the links between the organised abuse of children in north Wales and organised crime involving child porn and hard drugs. Hardly anyone resigned or retired even after Waterhouse – a few of the senior managers simply moved to other regions of the country and continued working, everyone else was bound by a code of silence and carried on in their own sweet way, mostly in north Wales. They continue to live and work there.

So how did Wales’s health and social care sector respond after the public inquiry into the biggest child abuse scandal that there had ever been in the UK? They remained in very deep denial.

The Waterhouse Report was published in 2000. In March 2001 the ‘Guardian’ published a feature on the crisis in the social care sector in Wales. It stated that ‘low morale, poor pay’ and the fear of involvement in ‘departmental failure’ made it difficult to attract social care staff to Wales and that the Waterhouse Report and critical reviews into local authority social services departments were ‘contributing to the problem’. No, it was the presence of a paedophile gang who’s mycelia spread throughout Wales that made it difficult to attract staff. Gwynedd and Clwyd Social Services had been dogged by scandal and allegations of abuse for years. The ‘services’ were so notorious that one social worker whose comments were published who desperately  wanted to escape from the sector in north Wales was quoted as saying ‘I’ve worked for Clwyd. No-one’s going to have me’.

So what comment did Hugh Gardner, the Chair of the Association of Directors of Social Services in Wales, make to the ‘Guardian’? Hugh stated that ‘Waterhouse has not helped…a feeling that there’s a special problem surrounding the integrity of people working in residential care in Wales. The reality is, there’s no problem, but public perception is damaging for morale’.

‘The reality is, there’s no problem’. A vicious paedophile ring had been in operation in the children’s homes in north Wales for at least 30 years – children had been raped, buggered, starved, beaten, used as forced labour and the children’s homes had doubled up as brothels. When the children hit their mid-teens they were trafficked to London and Brighton for sex work. So many former residents of the children’s homes were found dead as young adults that very few are now still alive. Five were killed in one arson attack in 1992. Every agency and organisation in Wales had colluded with the abuse – those kids had tried and tried to raise the alarm but no-one responded, except for Alison Taylor the Gwynedd social worker who blew the whistle and who was then sacked.

The response of the social care establishment in Wales to the crisis in social care was to establish a task and finish group in the Assembly, with the remit to look at recruitment and retention. This group was to be Chaired by Graham Williams, the Chief Inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate of Wales. Another member of the task and finish group was Rhian Huws Williams, the head of CCETSW Cymru (Central Council for the Education and Training of Social Workers) – for the low-down on Rhian Huws Williams, see post ‘Still Lost In Care’. Dominic Macaskill from UNISON, many of whose members work in social care, contributed to the debate – Dominic thought that the main problem was the ‘serious social deprivation’ in Wales. Mario Kraft from Care Forum Wales also sat on the group – he saw the group as a ‘chance to grapple with the recruitment and retention issues’. Mario observed that the outlook for the private sector as well was ‘bleak’.

At this time the Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales was Jane Hutt – a former social worker – a ‘family friend’ of Rhodri Morgan and his wife. Rhodri Morgan was First Minister. Rhodri’s wife Julie is a former social worker. Rhodri’s special advisor was Mark Drakeford – who had worked as a social worker in Dyfed, when they had a problem with abuse in their children’s services. All these people had been involved with social care in Wales BEFORE the Waterhouse Inquiry. They had been in place whilst the abuse was happening – and abuse wasn’t just happening in north Wales. The biggest scandal occurred there, it was particularly dreadful, but there were problems in health and social care right across Wales.

BBC News Wales in 2002 reported that ‘elderly care was in crisis’ – Hugh Gardner, the Vice-Chair of the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru, maintained that more money was needed.

In Dec 2004 BBC News Wales reported that Hugh Gardner was to be awarded an OBE. A few others did even better. Dr Michael Shooter, a psychiatrist from the Abergavenny area – who was mentioned in a comment in response to one of my blog posts recently – was to be given a CBE, as was Janet Chaplin (the Assistant Chief Probation Officer of the South Wales Probation Service), along with Richard Blair (Director of the Wales Local Gov’t Association aka WLGA), Andrew Cozens (the former President of the Association of Directors of Social Services) and Gloria Mills (the Director of Equal Opportunities at UNISON).

A nice collection of gongs in return for complete failure there.

 

Did the Assembly task and finish group of 2001 manage to improve matters? It would seem not. ‘Community Care’ in Jan 2005 reported on the dire state of health and social care services in Wales. Chris Davies, the Director of Cardiff Social Services, commented that the Welsh health and social care services were performing worse than their English counterparts but ‘no-one can quite put their finger on why’. Immediately after the publication of the damning Jillings Report in 1996 concerning the abuse of children in care in Clwyd, Clwyd County Council was abolished. John Jevons, the Director of Clwyd Social Services, left Clwyd and took up the position of Director of Social Services in Cardiff.

Our old friend Hugh Gardner also popped up in ‘Community Care’, Jan 2005. It was mentioned that Hugh was the former Director of Social Services for Swansea. Hugh did admit that there was a problem now – the problem was that the Welsh Assembly hadn’t given them enough money.

Swansea Social Services were declared to be not fit for purpose and were put into special measures after the murder of baby Aaron Gilbert in May 2005.

Jon Skone, the Secretary of the Association of Directors of Social Services Wales, was also involved in trying to suggest a remedy to the problem according to ‘Community Care’. Skone began life as a social worker in Neath in the early 80s. The boys from Bryn Estyn who complained about being molested were sent to an even worse place if they didn’t shut up – Neath Farm School. Neath Farm School got a mention in the Waterhouse Report as being so brutal that boys preferred to be beaten and abused at Bryn Estyn than risk being sent there. Skone was a a community development worker in West Glamorgan County Council in the mid-80s, principal social services officer (learning disabilities) for South Glamorgan County Council, 1987-92, Assistant Director, Policy, Planning and Strategic Development for Dyfed County Council 1992-96, Head of Community Care, Pembrokeshire County Council 1996-2000 and was appointed Director of Social Care and Housing for Pembrokeshire County Council in 2000. Jon Skone climbed yet higher. In 2010 Skone received much publicity when he was appointed Director of Social Services in Pembrokeshire AND Director of Hywel Dda Health Board, responsible for the management of Withybush Hospital, the first person in the UK to hold such a double appointment. Skone worked with Trevor Purt at Hywel Dda. Purt left Hywel Dda after public protests regarding the state of the health services and became CEO of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – where he subsequently resigned after the Tawel Fan scandal which involved the ‘institutional abuse’ of mental health patients.

Skone’s own honeymoon didn’t last long. Skone resigned in 2012 when a child abuse scandal blew up in Pembrokeshire. Not the scandal which involved the paedophile ring in Dyfed/Pembrokeshire, that was another scandal. Skone resigned after children’s care services were described as ‘Victorian’ in a highly critical report which followed an investigation after children were found to be kept in ‘padded time-out rooms’ aka padded cells. Skone then set himself up as a management consultant, advising on social care, health and housing. In 2013 Jon Skone was appointed to the Board of the Care Council for Wales. Skone is also a member of Alder Advice, a collective of advisors to the social care, housing and healthcare sectors.

‘Community Care’ reported that Meryl Gravell, lead member for Social Services at WLGA (Wales Local Gov’t Association) maintained that most services were good but that there was a lack of money. Meryl Gravell is famous on the blogsphere in Wales, the blog Jac O The North is particularly keen on following her adventures and alleged conflicts of interest. Meryl hit the nation’s mainstream media in Feb 2012 after she described staff of Carmarthenshire Council – of which she was leader – and protesters campaigning to stop the proposed closure of the A&E Dept of the Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli as ‘rabble’. She also implied that the Council’s staff were a bunch of lazy gits. Meryl stood down as leader in 2013 after a coalition of Labour and Independent Councillors got together and achieved domination on the Council.

Dear old Graham Williams – who was still the Chief Inspector of the Welsh Social  Services Inspectorate – mentioned the importance of the ‘dissemination of best practice’.

‘Community Care’ commented that this was ‘perhaps the last chance for Wales’s much maligned care sector to begin to recover its reputation’.

 

By 2005, health and social care services in Wales were supposed to be ‘working together’. Jane Hutt was removed from the role of Minister of Health and Social Services in 2005 in the face of the NHS continuing to sink like a stone and a row about excessively long waiting lists. (Hutt popped up again in 2007 as Minister for Children.) Somebody just as bad, a GP, Dr Brian Gibbons, was now in the role. See post ‘Politicians – And Their Responses’ for the background on the lethal Gibbons, who wrote me a letter simply stating ‘this correspondence is closed’ when I told him that I had evidence of serious criminal conduct on the part of staff and managers in the north Wales NHS and social services.

I have discovered a 2005 document, a ‘Concordant Between Bodies Inspecting, Regulating and Auditing Health and Social Care Services in Wales’. The signatures on this concordant are instructive. They include:

Dr Peter Higson of Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW); Graham Williams of Social Services Inspectorate Wales; Rob Pickford of Care Standards Inspectorate Wales; Gren Kershaw of the Welsh Risk Pool; Terry Rose of HSE; Anna Walker of the Healthcare Commission; Chris Heginbotham of the Mental Health Act Commission; Michael Ponton of NHS Confederation Wales; Peter Jones of the CHCs; Steve Thomas of WLGA. The signatures on the foreword of the Concordant are those of the then two biggest wigs in Wales’s Health and Social Care system, dear old Dr Brian Gibbons and Ann Lloyd, the Head of the Health and Social Care Dept, Chief Exec NHS Wales.

Ann Lloyd CBE has not featured on this blog until now, but she certainly has much to answer for. Lloyd was Chief Exec of NHS Wales 2001-09. So all those deaths and assaults at the Hergest Unit happened on her watch, as did the framing of patients by the staff for crimes that they had not committed – as well as the failure to investigate patients complaints. Ann Lloyd stated that ‘we must never have a mid-Staffs here’ [in Wales]. So that’s what the huge cover-up and harassment and wrongful imprisonment of patients was all about then – Ann didn’t want a mid-Staffs. You had one Ann, by anyone’s standards there was a mid-Staffs in north Wales and now you’ve got this blog to deal with. Ann served under successive Health Ministers Hutt, Gibbons and Edwina Hart. I have detailed previously how Edwina Hart really did try and sort out the NHS in north Wales but was hounded out of her post by the BMA and the paedophiles’ friends. I was also told that the civil service were being as obstructive to Edwina as possible – I wonder if one of those doing the obstructing was Ann Lloyd?

When Ann ‘retired’, she stated that ‘mental health [services] need a good going over’. She also believed that ‘services are more accountable and transparent’. The services need a police investigation Ann but you and Gibbons didn’t even respond to patients complaints. At this time the Chief Exec of the Gwynedd CHC was Glanville Owen, who didn’t investigate patients complaints either. Glanville was the Deputy Director of Gwynedd Social Services responsible for children’s homes when the paedophile gang were busy in those homes.

Ann didn’t completely disappear when she left the Welsh NHS full of criminals abusing patients. She became a Commissioner for Health and Social Services in London and spent two days a week there. I suspect that the dead hand of Ann Lloyd is still touching NHS Wales though. I have found a document dated May 2017 which was the minutes of the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee. The Chair was an Ann Lloyd and the Vice-Chair was Lyn Meadows. Meadows is a member of the Betsi Board and the former corrupt dishonest Director of HR at Bangor University. Before that she was a senior manager of the Welsh Ambulance Service, which was a catastrophe. She was described to me as an ‘evil cow’, a manipulative bully who promoted someone to a managerial post who later ended up in prison for a savage attack on his wife. In a previous life Lyn Meadows was a non-executive director of an NHS organisation on the Wirral. She was named in Hansard and on Frank Field’s blog as having colluded with a fraud with some Top Doctors. More info about Meadows can be found by using the search facility on this blog, I’ve mentioned her often.

In the financial year 2003-04 Ann Lloyd’s salary was given as £125-130k.

When Ann retired, Sir Paul Williams became the Chief Exec of NHS Wales. Paul had been the Chief Exec of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust – which was somewhat scandal ridden itself. Williams had started his career as a clerk in the Welsh NHS and worked his way up over the next 40 years. Details of Paul’s career can be found among the comments that follow my post ‘Wheels Within Wheels Or Flies Drawn To The Same Incestuously Corrupt Shithouse?’ Upon Ann’s retirement, Paul stated that NHS Wales now had opportunities which ‘will be the envy of other healthcare systems’.

OK Paul, that must be why eight years later we have some of the worst health outcomes in Europe and more than one NHS Board in Wales is technically bankrupt.

What about the others who signed the Concordat? Well Peter Higson who was Chief Exec of HIW is well-known to readers of this blog – he concealed the paedophile ring whilst he was the manager of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, ignored abuse of patients and criminal misconduct and he’s now the Chair of the Betsi. Which is in special measures because of institutional abuse in its mental health services.

Graham Williams was still Graham in denial. Rob Pickford of Care Standards Inspectorate Wales started out as a social worker in the Rhondda. He became a child protection officer for Mid-Glamorgan Social Services and then occupied management positions in social services in the Rhondda. Following this he was Assistant Director for Adult Services for Bridgend County Borough Council. Rob just rocketed upwards – he became Director of Social Services for Bridgend and at some point took over Graham Williams’ former remit of Chief Inspector of Care and Social Services. Dear old Graham became Director of NHS, Mid and West Wales Region and then retired. Rob went on to become Director of Social Services, Children and Families in the Welsh Gov’t. In 2013 he was appointed visiting Professor at the University of South Wales and an honorary research fellow at Cardiff University. Rob maintains that his career has been spent ‘supporting people to deliver citizen centred services’. (Higson used to claim on his profile on the HIW website that his career had been dedicated to making life better for the citizen.) Latterly Rob Pickford could be found on the website of the Big Lottery Fund – he is listed as a Wales Committee member, alongside other equally duplicitous people. Rob is also Chair of the Wildlife Trust for south and west Wales.

Gren Kershaw of the Welsh Risk Pool is known to readers of this blog (see post ‘How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?’). He was the senior manager of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh in its final days and the CEO of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust, 1991-2008. He then took control at the Welsh Risk Pool, where he worked with John Bowles and Patricia Gaskell. Bowles was risk manager at Ysbyty Gwynedd whilst patients were assaulted by staff and died and Gaskell was the hospital solicitor who covered up for and failed to take action against Hergest staff who assaulted patients. Whilst Gren was CEO of Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust he was responsible for Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. There was cover-up after cover-up following serious complaints and the elderly wards were so bad that staff at Glan Clwyd warned their friends not to let their relatives be admitted there. In 2005, Peter Higson in his capacity as CEO of HIW wrote a report on Gren’s mental health services – which included the infamous elderly mentally ill wards – describing them as ‘good and still improving’. Higson and Gren were old mates from their days concealing the paedophile gang at the North Wales Hospital. Gren isn’t Welsh – until the 80s he was an NHS manager in Jimmy Savile’s stomping ground in Yorkshire. After ‘retiring’ from the NHS, Gren set up a management consultancy.

Gren co-authored an article with an Annette Bartley for ‘Asian Hospital and Healthcare Management’ entitled ‘Effective Leadership For Patient Safety – Lessons From Safer Patient Initiative’. Bartley was described as Head of Modernisation, North Wales NHS (Central Division) – which was the later name of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust; it gained such a dreadful reputation that a rebranding exercise was undertaken. Annette Bartley was an Angel – presumably one who had spent all or most of her career in north Wales. Bartley became a fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and even spent a year in Boston which was funded by them. She then returned to Gren and north Wales. She did of course set up her own management consultancy. Bartley died in 2016 and a tribute was written to her by the Point of Care Foundation on The Health Foundation’s website. It stated that Annette was a nurse until 2007, but then became a quality advisor, that she had a ‘passion for excellence’ and was ‘an experienced nurse and capable service improver in north Wales’. She was also obviously a very good liar. We are told that Annette had a little anecdote – ‘when the organisation hit a barrier to progress, it brought inspiration and new energy to enable change’.

I can understand that the goons in north Wales all swallowed Annette’s nonsense because like her they’d never dare admit what was happening in their organisation which had hit a barrier to progress, but how did she manage to convince anyone in BOSTON that she was a ‘an experienced improver’?? They’d only needed to have paid a visit to the shambles that was Ysbyty Glan Clwyd…

 

Anna Walker was the Chief Exec of the Healthcare Commission, 2004-09, until it was subsumed by the CQC after one scandal too many. Walker was a Whitehall civil servant who had worked for the DTI, DEFRA and had been the Director-General at Oftel. Anna was supposed to be all about being a hard taskmaster and inspecting/regulating the NHS in order to effect improvement (she should have just asked the Great Improver Annette for advice) – she didn’t have much joy with the NHS in north Wales. Anna was the daughter of Lord Butterworth, the first Vice-Chancellor of Warwick University and was in the same class as Princess Ann at Benenden. Anna’s husband is Tim Walker, who was the Director-General of the HSE. The HSE that only very, very rarely took the NHS to task, no matter how many times they killed patients. One of Tim’s underlings at the HSE co-signed the Concordat with Anna. Between 2009-16, Anna was the Chair of Young Epilepsy. At about the time that Anna became Chief Exec of the Healthcare Commission, a young woman with epilepsy ended up in a vegetative state after being admitted to Ysbyty Gwynedd. It was a bank holiday and there was no senior doctor on call because Keith Thomson, the CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust, had refused to pay for senior doctors to cover at weekends and bank holidays. No-one on duty knew how much medication to give her and they got it wrong. She ended up severely brain damaged. Thomson wasn’t sacked and no-one was prosecuted. Thomson did resign in 2005 – hours after my lawyers had him summoned before a High Court judge in Cardiff and ordered him to hand over my medical records which he had been refusing to. Not that Thomson actually retired, although he told the local paper this – Thomson went off quietly to Pembrokeshire and joined the senior management of the NHS Trust down there! He stood down from that post suddenly for unexplained reasons, but was kind enough to tell them all that he’d remain as an advisor to the Board.

Chris Heginbotham of the Mental Health Act Commission – the MHA Commission that failed to investigate abuses of patients in north Wales, lied to patients and had a very chummy relationship over a period of many years with NHS senior managers in north Wales – was formerly Chief Exec at MIND. Heginbotham worked closely with William Bingley, the legal director of MIND whilst Heginbotham was Chief Exec – who also went on to lead the MHA Commission – who admitted to me that he knew the extent of the criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. For more details of Heginbotham’s activities, see post ‘MIND Are Out For Mental Health – But Never For Themselves Of Course’.

Michael Ponton was appointed as Director of the NHS Confederation Wales in 2004. He began working for the NHS in Cardiff in 1962 and moved to England in 1968, where he worked at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington and Leicester General Hospital. In 1974 he returned to Wales as manager of the Morriston Hospital, Swansea. After spending 16 years in senior management roles with West Glamorgan Health Authority, Ponton returned to Morrison in 1985 to manage the revamped hospital. In 1990 he became Managing Director of East Dyfed and Pembrokeshire Health Authorities. In 1996 Ponton was appointed as Chief Exec of Health Promotion Wales. In 1999 he arrived at the newly established Welsh Assembly Gov’t as the senior civil servant supporting the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ruth Hall, on Health Promotion and Public Health.

Dr Ruth Hall was or still is a member of NICE’s Public Health Advisory Committee, is on the Board of Governors of the Public Policy Institute for Wales and is Joint Chair of the Mid-Wales Healthcare Collaborative. Healthcare services in mid-Wales are notoriously virtually non-existent and two days ago the children’s services in Powys died a death. Ruth penned an entertaining piece for the University of South Wales’s website, entitled ‘Riding The Wave of Success’, in which she urged everyone to ‘enjoy the wave of reflected glory. This particularly applies to the NHS…’

Michael Ponton led the Assembly Strategy ‘Improving Health in Wales’ – he was Director of Health Policy and Development in the Assembly’s Health and Social Services Dept. In 2010 when he retired Ponton became a visiting Professor at the University of South Wales. He was or is a Trustee of Age Concern Cymru as well as Help the Aged in Wales.

 

A Report on the Implementation and Progress of the Concordat 2005-07 followed a few years later. The signatures on this Report were pretty much the same as the signatures on the Concordat, but there were a few new additions, including that of Dr Finlay Scott, Chief Exec of the GMC. At the time, Finlay was busy trying to explain why Harold Shipman had been allowed to continue practicing although there had been concerns expressed about him many years previously after he was convicted of a drugs offence.

Another new signature was that of Jeremy Colman, the Auditor General for Wales. Jeremy was a civil servant who had worked as the Private Secretary to successive holders of the post of head of the Home Office’s civil service and in the Treasury. Colman had played a leading role in the privatisation of British Airways and the British Airports Authority. In 1988 Colman was Director of investment bank County NatWest. He then became a partner in Price Waterhouse – he was based in Prague, as head of Corporate Finance. Colman joined the National Audit Office in 1993 and was responsible for PFIs and public-private partnerships for 12 years. Colman became head of the Wales Audit Office (WAO) in 2005. He resigned in 2010 after an internal investigation found child porn on his computer. An investigation by South Wales Police followed – Colman was later found guilty of fifteen separate offences of possessing indecent images and was jailed. The only surprise is that he hasn’t turned up on the Board of the Care Council for Wales.

After Colman resigned, Huw Vaughan Thomas was appointed as head of the WAO. Huw Vaughan Thomas was the former Chief Exec of Gwynedd County Council, whilst Gwynedd Social Services was host to the paedophile ring and was subject to police investigations. Vaughan Thomas refused to meet Alison Taylor, the social worker who blew the whistle on the paedophile ring, who was subsequently sacked. Vaughan Thomas is involved with numerous worthy causes – full details of Huw’s glorious career and extensive network can be read in my post ‘I Know Nuzzing…’

If any reader knows who sat on the panel that appointed Huw Vaughan Thomas to the WAO, I’d certainly like to hear from them. Huw is still in that post.

 

In the midst of all this, in March 2005 ‘Community Care’ ran an article on Rhodri Morgan’s ‘vision’ for public services in Wales – a vision that was conjured up by his advisor Mark Drakeford. The vision involved rejecting the consumerist model of services that had been adopted in England – all part of Rhodri’s famous placing of ‘clear red water’ between Wales and England. I am completely sympathetic to such ideas – but as we have seen, they cannot be successfully implemented if the whole system is full of corrupt, abusive people who are never removed from their jobs and who are immediately given another senior role if they condescend to resign in the face of major scandal. Flattering words were said in ‘Community Care’ regarding the ‘new way’ of sharing staff and resources. A number of key figures were mentioned, including Paul Elliott, spokesperson for Wales UNISON and David Halse, head of Childcare Commissioning at Pembrokeshire. David was head of Children’s Services in Pembrokeshire, working under Jon Skone.

In Jan 2006, ‘Children and Young People Now’ carried an article on the serious problems in children’s social care services in Wales. One Graham Williams – who was still  Chief Inspector – commented that ‘improving the performance of children’s services must be given immediate priority’. Everyone chipped in as usual. A Sally Ellis was named as the Association of Directors of Social Services lead on children’s services in Wales. Sally Ellis was a Corporate Director in Denbighshire County Council, between 2001-14. The Denbighshire County Council which had problems in all of its ‘services’ and whose education service famously imploded. Sally was, among other things, Director of Social Services for Denbighshire and is described as having held ‘many posts in local gov’t’. What’s the betting that at one point Sally will have been a social worker in north Wales as the paedophile gang raged and the mental health patients were neglected and abused? Sally was also the Director for Modernisation over at Denbighshire – and was or is the local gov’t representative on the Betsi Board! She Chaired the Strategic Improvement Steering Group which dispensed advice to the Health and Social Services Minister in Wales on social care improvement. Sally is also listed on the website of the Public Services Staff Commission as a Commissioner, who provides ‘advice to Welsh Gov’t Ministers and public service organisations’. She also provided advice to the National Institute of Care and Support.

Sally Ellis is a volunteer advisor to Denbighshire CAB. Lucille Hughes, the Director of Gwynedd Social Services who was named in the Waterhouse Report as colluding with the paedophile gang who operated in north Wales, is a senior manager of CAB. Ellis is also Vice-Chair of North Wales Housing aka the North Wales Housing Association. The North Wales Housing Association began the Bangor branch of their empire by fleecing a vulnerable psychiatric patient. They are known for housing drug dealers who intimidate the more vulnerable residents – complaints from the vulnerable residents are ignored. In the 1990s, North Wales Housing used to run a homeless hostel in Bangor. I knew a young woman who was ‘housed’ there. She struck up a close friendship with a young man who was also a resident and one night went along to his room and got into bed with him. He was dead. He had died of an overdose of drugs that he’d been sold whilst he was in the hostel. They young woman who found him was taken to the Hergest Unit and sectioned. Her clothes were removed – and never returned – and she was given a police forensic jump suit to wear. She was detained in the Hergest Unit until after the funeral and the inquest of her dead friend. She was never interviewed about her friend’s death by anyone. There was no investigation into the death. The manager of the hostel on duty the night that the young man died later became Chief Exec of North Wales Housing.

In July 2007, an article appeared in Wales Online explaining that the cost of negligence in the Welsh NHS was going through the roof. Spencer Collier, a solicitor handling such claims, observed that it was ‘the same basic and simple mistakes which keep occurring….very, very simple year one medical school stuff’. Gren Kershaw’s own documents from the Welsh Risk Pool also showed that the same mistakes were being made repeatedly. A Welsh Assembly spokesperson responded by saying that ‘the NHS Redress Measure that has been published today will further encourage a learning culture in the NHS’. At about this time, one of my colleagues at Bangor University was ‘leading a project’ with dear old Gren and the Welsh Risk Pool. Brown and me used to be greatly entertained by this person’s description of the NHS as a ‘learning organisation’. Within two years the project had gone tits up in a major way due to her mismanagement, the two PhD students associated with it didn’t get PhDs, there was talk of the funding body demanding the dosh back from the University and the person who believed that the NHS was a learning organisation was sacked. She later set up a ‘coaching and mentoring business’ and was recently commissioned by the Betsi to ‘train’ their senior doctors. Some months ago, at a Betsi Board meeting whilst yet another disaster was being discussed, the Vice-Chair of the Board, Margaret Hanson, talked about ’embedding the learning’. Margaret is a former social worker who is married to David Hanson, who also worked in the care sector before he became an MP in Wales.

The learning just goes on and on – as do the deaths, the scandals and the abuse.

 

Another major player between 2006-12 was Tony Jewell, Wales’s Chief Medical Officer. Jewell always looked as though he led a very good life, he was rather tanned and seemed to be in possession of some very expensive teeth. He was a public health specialist and I never worked out whether he was a good advert for his own speciality or whether he was just wealthy enough to afford a very comfortable lifestyle. Many years ago Tony Jewell worked as a GP in inner London for 10 years and was a member of Tower Hamlets Area Health Authority for six years, specifically as the union rep. So he will have known the fuckwits that ran that borough and that they were sending their kids in care on placement to north Wales – where they were abused. Jewell was Secretary to the Support Wendy Savage campaign, so he’ll have known many of the folk mentioned in my post ‘Little Things Hitting Each Other’. Jewell was a Council member of the Socialist Health Organisation, but resigned when he was appointed CMO for Wales. Yorkshire Television produced a documentary on Jewell’s work in the 80s. In the late 1980s Yorkshire Television also filmed Alison Taylor for a planned documentary on child abuse in north Wales children’s homes – but it was suddenly stopped. Jewell was involved in the Inquiry into the death of David ‘Rocky’ Bennett. Rocky was a mental health patient who suffocated whilst being ‘restrained’ by an inexplicably high number of people who were paid ‘to help’. Tony Jewell was President of the UK Association of Directors of Public Health, 2002-06.

Whilst CMO, Tony Jewell created Public Health appointments in every Health Board in Wales. I knew one of the people who landed one of those appointments in the North West Wales NHS Trust. He was a capable senior doctor who had won prizes for his work whilst he was working in London. After working for the North West Wales NHS Trust for a year he began to describe the serious misconduct among his colleagues that he was witnessing. He alleged that he was being bullied in the workplace, became clinically depressed and ended up having a breakdown. He left Tony Jewell’s flagship job and moved to another part of the country to work as a GP – after a leading light in the BMA ensured that nobody got to hear about what had happened to this doctor in Gwynedd. The doctor who had the breakdown also knew about the research fraud that was mindfulness and noticed that the ‘mindfulness practitioners’ in Bangor University were behaving appallingly.

Tony Jewell established NISCHR (National Institute for Social Care and Health Research) in Wales, an organisation that dishes out funding to people who know exactly how bad the social care and mental health services are in Wales, but who never publish a word about it preferring to pursue simplistic surveys and box ticking exercises instead.

Some years ago there was a terrifyingly embarrassing cluster of suicides in Bridgend, which no-one ever managed to get to the bottom of. I always wondered about that particular mystery, but I have now discovered that Jewell ‘defused’ the problem by conjuring up the All Wales Response To Suicide Prevention. Not that it’s prevented any suicides, people are still dropping like lemmings, but at least no-one talks about it anymore, because there’s now a Strategy. The learning will have been embedded.

Tony Jewell retired in 2012, tanned, healthy and still in possession of those splendid teeth. The rest of Wales was on its arse, I’d been hounded out of Gwynedd by the paedophiles’ friends and the nation’s health outcomes were shameful. By this time Lesley Griffiths was Minister for Health and Social Services. Griffiths had been a member of Wrexham Council whilst the paedophile ring raged in the children’s services in Wrexham (see post ‘History Repeats Itself, First As Tragedy, Second As Farce’) – all the Councillors except Malcolm King refused to make a nuisance of themselves about this minor matter. Mark Drakeford was appointed as Minister for Health and Social Services after Griffiths – the Drakeford who was once a social worker in Dyfed where children in care were abused, the Drakeford who was Rhodri’s advisor a few years previously – you get the picture. Drakeford was in post when the Tawel Fan scandal blew up and covered him in crap. Tawel Fan ward provided care for EMI patients in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd – Gren Kershaw’s former empire, that beacon of ‘improvement’ that so impressed quality assessors in Boston. The EMI services in Gren’s empire also managed to receive an award for being the best team in the UK from the Royal College of Psychiatrists the year before the horrible truth hit the headlines re Tawel Fan.

After Tony Jewell retired, Dr Ruth Hussey was appointed as CMO for Wales. Ruth Hussey is Peter Higson’s sister. Ruth Hussey picked up an honorary Fellowship from Bangor University – Peter Higson is a member of the Council at Bangor University.

 

Regular readers will know that although I am very rude about the nest of corrupt vipers that have wrecked the public services in Wales, I always maintain that they have been propped up by even worse equally corrupt incestuous vipers from England. So let’s look at who oversaw this complete mess at the highest level and started the ball rolling from the earliest days of the creation of the Assembly, by simply re-employing and indeed promoting the fucking idiots who had caused so much damage previously.

It was Sir Jon Shortridge, who was Permanent Secretary in the Welsh Office from 1999 and who became Permanent Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales when it was created in May 1999. Shortridge’s predecessor was Rachel Lomax, who has a great deal of explaining to do re the cover-up that was the Waterhouse Inquiry. Further details pertaining to Rachel can be read in my post ‘So Who Was It Exactly Who Appointed The Corrupt Old Bugger?’

Shortridge joined the Welsh Office in 1984. In 1987 he became Private Secretary to Secretaries of State for Wales Nicholas Edwardes aka Lord Crickhowell and then Peter Walker. So Shortridge will have been au fait – and perhaps even organising – the Welsh Office’s cover-up of the abuse of both children in care and mental health patients as detailed in previous posts, by the use of corrupt lawyer Andrew Park and the corrupt Medical Ombudsman, Professor Robert Owen. It was also the Welsh Office’s Social Services Inspectorate that failed to carry out regular inspections of the children’s homes in north Wales, even though they were being told by Alison Taylor that abuse was rampant and some ‘care workers’ from the homes had been convicted of assaults on children. In addition, Alison and me were writing to Ministers in the Welsh Office telling them that there was criminal activity in the social services and mental health services in north Wales. Shortridge will also have been party to the development of Cardiff Bay and the way in which this was used to transfer many millions of taxpayers money to Nicholas Edwardes and his friends and business partners (see post ‘Corruption Bay Special’). In fact between 1988-92 Shortridge was head of the Welsh Office Finance Division, so he’ll have been the person who waved that particular massive scam through. There was a great deal of unhappiness with the Welsh Office in Wales, with allegations of corruption, mismanagement and decisions being taken that were anything but helpful to Wales. In 1995 a Senior Managerial Review of the Welsh Office was undertaken – by Jon Shortridge. Then in 1997, Shortridge was appointed Director of Economic Affairs, responsible for establishing the National Assembly of Wales.

After ensuring the corruption was built into the civil service and public services of Wales from the very beginning, Shortridge retired in 2008. Between 2012-15, Sir Jon Shortridge was Chancellor of the poorest performing university in the UK, that institution riddled with problems, Glyndwr University at Wrexham. My post ‘A Vampire At Glyndwr University!’ identifies and details the backgrounds of the numerous people who facilitated, concealed and colluded with those involved in the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal who have held or hold roles governing that institution. I presume that Shortridge is the biggest vampire of the lot.

I have come to expect high levels of fuckwittery from those responsible for running health and care systems – these systems are so dysfunctional that they are designed to ensure that no competent person ever achieves any degree of influence. But under Jon Shortridge, a paedophile was appointed to lead the Wales Audit Office and then after the paedophile was imprisoned, someone who facilitated a paedophile gang was appointed as his successor.

The Westminster Paedophile Ring was alleged to have involved Whitehall civil servants. Children from north Wales children’s homes were trafficked to London for prostitution. Some of the boys from north Wales found themselves visiting apartments at Dolphin Square – the location of the residences of a number of politicians and civil servants.

 

It is good to know that there is ‘no problem’ and that everyone is ‘riding the wave of success’ – and that Jon Shortridge, having presided over this shameful mess that resulted in so many ruined lives and numerous deaths, ended up with a knighthood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Ordinary Methods

My most recent reading material has been Dominic Carman’s biography of his father George the much feared Rottweiler of a barrister, ‘No Ordinary Man’. George Carman has featured on this blog in posts such as ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’, ‘Y Gwir Yn Y Byd – A Few Additional Comments’ and ‘My How Things Haven’t Changed’, in which I discuss Carman’s role in the 1994 libel action brought by Gordon Anglesea after Private Eye and others named Anglesea as having sexually abused boys in care in north Wales and Carman’s role in Jeremy Thorpe’s trial in 1979. Successfully defending Thorpe after he stood trial for conspiracy and incitement to murder Norman Scott was what made Carman’s name and took him to London from Manchester where he had previously been based.

I speculated in ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd – A Few Additional Comments’ that Carman had deliberately thrown the case when he defended Private Eye et al against Anglesea’s accusation of libel. By the time that Carman took that case he was known as the best libel barrister in the UK. He had built up an international reputation and the mention of his name was enough to cause people to settle actions out of Court. Anglesea had indeed abused boys in care in north Wales, he later went to prison for it – Carman was famed for trawling through people’s knicker drawers if he was facing them in Court and north Wales was heaving with evidence of and witnesses to the crimes of Anglesea and co. Carman losing that case was inexplicable.

I knew that Carman was a massively heavy drinker, was addicted to gambling, was violent to all of his partners and was so feared by the police and others that his partners could find no help even when they were visibly broken and bleeding. I knew that certainly when he worked in Manchester Carman spent his time socialising with what are euphemistically known as figures from the ‘underworld’, as well as with prostitutes, with bent police officers, ‘celebrities’, journalists and numerous other people. I also knew that when Carman was acting in a trial, crucial damning ‘evidence’ would be delivered to his team, literally during the trial, at a crucial point which would frequently win him the case.

The most famous example of this occurred when the South African journalist Jani Allan faced Carman in Court in 1992 after bringing a libel action against Channel 4. A crucial part of the case rested on Allan’s denial of an affair with a married man. Just after Allan swore on oath that she would not have such a relationship, a package arrived at the Court addressed to Carman. He refused to open it, but Jan Tomalin – the in-house lawyer for Channel 4 – seemed to know that this package was good news and she opened it. Inside was a notebook which Jani Allan had used as a diary in 1984-85 and in which she had recorded her sexual fantasies whilst undergoing psychiatric care. She was finished. If I was Jani Allan I’d want to know how anyone – let alone Carman’s team – got their hands on that, but I have found no references to any such investigation.

Dominic’s book however makes it clear that Carman was far more unpleasant, ruthless and questionable than anyone ever previously dared suggest. There are indications that he had been badly damaged when young by incredibly harsh treatment at St Joseph’s School in Blackpool run by the Irish Christian Brothers – years later a number of former pupils alleged abuse during their time there. Carman simply didn’t speak about his experiences at St Joseph’s.

Carman was very, very well networked. He would have been in a position to thrash out deals behind the scenes with a whole variety of people.

Carman enjoyed being seen in the company of women and even cultivated the image of a womaniser. I had heard rumours that he was bisexual, but one thing that I learnt from Dominic’s book is that Carman’s first wife maintained that Carman was never interested in her sexually, that their marriage was unconsummated, that he received postcards which were obviously from men rather than women and that she believed that he was gay, but he kept what she believed were sexual relationships with other men very quiet indeed. This marriage only lasted three years and Carman failed to mention it in his Who’s Who entry. Indeed, the lady concerned claims that Carman worked very hard to ensure that her account of a truly dreadful relationship never made it into the public domain.

Carman’s second wife, Dominic’s mother, stated that after the children were born Carman stopped having sex with her. Her story is remarkably similar to that told by his first wife – excessive drinking, huge gambling debts and a very high level of physical and mental abuse. Dominic remembers witnessing his father’s violent attacks on his mother.

Carman had a third wife. Guess what – he undermined and belittled her, forced her to give up her career and spend her days watching his performances in Court instead and didn’t have a sexual relationship with her either.

As well as these three marriages, Carman had numerous other close friendships with women and was regularly seen hanging out with teenage ‘hostesses’ in ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ and women who were known to be working as prostitutes (not only those considered to be ‘high class call girls’).

From 1986 Carman had a long term relationship with a barrister called Karen Phillips who hung out with showbiz folk including Julia Morley, Russ Abbott and Bruce Forsyth’s wife Winnie. She was also friends with Dr Veronica Varney and Martin Landau. Elton John’s wife Renate was co-director of one of Phillips’s companies and Carman acted with Karen for Renate in her divorce from Elton. A number of Carman’s clients were friends with Karen including Norman Lamont, Richard Branson, Aidan Barclay and Marco Pierre White.

Between 1980-93 Karen  was also in a relationship with David Green. Carman formed an alliance with Green’s wife whom Carman had traced through ‘detective work’. Interestingly enough although Green was a wealthy man who was able to supply Phillips with a flat in an expensive part of London and a BMW, his company ended up going into liquidation – although Karen succeeded in keeping possession of the valuable flat and even the car. Phillips gave up law in the early 1990s and became involved with Charity Work, evolving into a lady who lunches. At one point she lent her flat to Sarah Ferguson – one of Karen’s mates was a friend of Fergie’s.

Towards the end of Carman’s life he became very angry when photos of Phillips in the company of boxing promoter Jarvis Astaire began appearing in glossy magazines and gossip columns. Carman watched Phillips, followed her and discussed her activities with another lawyer who worked with her. Phillips was someone else who maintained that throughout her very long relationship with Carman they never had sex.

Carman’s very first relationship with a woman was with Anne Meuller whilst they were both at Oxford. Anne Meuller ended up breaking their engagement off because she was unable to cope with Carman’s bisexuality – one presumes that Carman ended up making a nuisance of himself because Anne engaged the services of solicitors to threaten legal action against him. Anne later became Dame Anne and was the most successful civil servant of her generation, being appointed as the Second Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office (1984-87) and then moving to the Treasury (1987-90). She was Chancellor of De Montfort University (1991-95), a Director of BSkyB as well as CARE International and was associated with Manchester Business School. Dame Anne died in 2000 so like Carman is no longer able to answer questions.

For a man who never or rarely had sex with his wives/partners and who spent much of his spare time getting bladdered in clubs with other women whom everyone presumed that he was having sex with, Carman reacted very strongly on the occasions that he suspected his female partners of infidelity. At one point when he (wrongly) believed that one of his wives was having an affair with another man, he violently assaulted the man in question cracking his ribs.

Carman’s whole existence was one of behaving appalling towards other people but this rarely becoming public and Carman rarely facing any consequences. When he was older and famous, various gossip columnists – including Nigel Dempster – encountered him ripped to the tits in clubs in dubious company but not a word was ever printed about it.

After Jeremy Thorpe had been charged but before Carman had relocated to London, Carman crashed his car whilst drunk – until this incident Carman regularly drove whilst well over the limit. He was arrested and taken to Platt Lane Police Station. He declined the breathalyser and called his solicitor Ian Burton. Carman did the ‘don’t you know who I am’ bit. The plods in the station didn’t know who he was, so Carman told them that he was ‘standing Counsel to the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester’, ie. James Anderton. Even the plods knew who he was and Carman demanded that the police phone Anderton. They rang Anderton’s home and his wife answered – she contacted Anderton who was at the time out at a dinner. When Anderton heard that Carman was in police custody, a Superintendent in uniform was despatched to Platt Lane Police Station. Whilst waiting for the cavalry, Carman was busy telling the plods in the station what to do and raising points of law, which the plods would be in no position to know actually existed or not. Carman was actually charged and Burton represented him in Court, although Carman wrote the mitigation speech. He received a mild slap – a £150 fine and a one year ban. Dominic Carman commented that the ‘press comment was fairly modest’ – even though the barrister who had been retained for one of the most high profile criminal trials of the 20 century had crashed his car whilst pissed and been arrested. Carman’s punishment on a professional level was to be restricted to working in Altrincham County Court for a year, issuing judgement summons’s.

John Anderton was of course the notoriously unhinged Chief Constable who had a bee in his bonnet about ‘immorality’, hated prostitutes so much that some of his own officers speculated that he might have been the person carrying out the murders for which Peter Sutcliffe was later convicted, stated that people who contracted AIDS were ‘swirling in a human cesspit of their own making’ and maintained that he was a prophet. Anderton was famous for stating that he would ‘clean up’ Manchester, especially in terms of porn, sex work and police corruption. An account of Anderton’s colleagues and their relationships with the paedophiles’ friends can be found in my post ‘Top Of The Cops’ and ‘A Stalker’s Network’.

Carman will have known a few other people as well as Anderton. In previous posts, I speculated that Carman will have known about the North Wales Paedophile Ring and may have even known some of the paedophiles’ friends from the north Wales/Cheshire ring as a result of his boozing and clubbing with bent police officers, gangsters and journos in Manchester. Dominic’s book mentions some of the locations at which Carman lived – Carman lived in Wilmslow and Altrincham. Those areas covered the location of the Cheshire paedophile ring and were not a million miles away from Chester, the constituency of Sir Peter Morrison the MP who was abusing boys in care in north Wales. Carman will also have found out a great deal by being marooned working in Altrincham County Court – although he’ll have known a great deal anyway, because before and after that his duties as a barrister took him to Courts in Cheshire. John Stalker, the Greater Manchester Police Officer featured in my posts ‘Top Of The Cops’ and ‘A Stalker’s Network’, also lived in Cheshire – as did great swathes of the professional classes who worked in Manchester.

Carman didn’t move to London until 1980, but he was already very well-networked by the time that he acted for Thorpe.

Carman read law at Balliol College, Oxford. Whilst there he was friends with Dick Taverne (who later became a Labour MP, but then defected to the SDP – he is now in the Lords). Patrick Mayhew read law with him – the Patrick Mayhew who later was the legal assessor for the GMC when Dr Morris Fraser was allowed to continue working as a psychiatrist despite convictions for paedophilia, the Patrick Mayhew who in his capacity as Attorney General authorised contempt of Court proceedings against me on the basis of Dr Tony Francis’s (Dr X’s) perjury, after I alleged that serious abuses were happening in the north Wales psychiatric services. Carman also knew barrister Stanley Brodie at Oxford and shared a room with George Carver, who later became Deputy Director of the CIA. He knew Sir Robin Day – who was also big mates with Sir Ronnie Waterhouse – and William Rees-Mogg. Carman was also friends with Vivian Price – who was the best man at Carman’s first wedding – and later became one of Carman’s clients as well. Oh – and Carman was friends with a man called Jeremy Thorpe. Nicolas Browne-Wilkinson who later became a Lord Justice of Appeal was at Oxford with Carman.

After graduation, Carman spent a short time in London and worked as a libel reader for the News of the World. He tried his hand at business – he set a girl up as a masseuse in a flat in Great Portland Street (the GMC offices are in Great Portland Street), but the girl disappeared after she was faced with a client who expected rather more than a massage. Carman had paid rent on the flat in advance, so was left out of pocket.

Carman looked for a pupillage in London and used the connections of his former tutor at Balliol to do this. He was taken on as the pupil of Neil Lawson who later became Chairman of the Law Commission and a High Court judge.

However Carman discovered that he was far too poor to afford to continue with a pupillage in London – particularly in those days, one really needed a private income to sustain oneself as a pupil barrister – and he returned to Blackpool (by now his mother was dying). Carman took up a pupillage in Manchester with Godfrey Heilpern – who acted for Myra Hindley in her 1966 trial. Readers may remember how many of the corrupt lawyers on the Chester and Wales Circuit who assisted the paedophiles’ friends were involved in that trial – Heilpern will have known all of them, including Ronnie Waterhouse. Joseph Cantley was working in chambers in Manchester at this time – Cantley later presided over the trial of Jeremy Thorpe – as was Fenton Atkinson, who presided over the trial of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady. Carman became friendly with Sir Basil Nield, a Recorder of Manchester and was also popular with Sir Robertson Crichton, who was a Recorder of Manchester. Carman was mates with solicitor John Budd and was also admired by Gerald (Lord) Gardiner, Leonard Kaplan, Robert McCrindle and Jack Nahum QC.

Carman’s first wife was the daughter of a local Tory grandee. Carman was persuaded to put himself forward as a Parliamentary candidate and he got as far as being shortlisted for Salford for the Tories. (Whilst Carman was at Oxford his tutor Richard Crossman – who held a series of Ministerial posts in Harold Wilson’s Gov’t – had asked him to consider standing for Parliament.)

Between 1966-71 Carman worked on a great many personal injury cases. These frequently involved industrial injury and Carman was often instructed by the trade union solicitors Thompsons. Thompsons were brothers Brian and Robin, two champagne socialists from Hampstead with close links to trade union leaders. Nic Carter, who set up the Thompsons Manchester office, socialised with Carman.

Carman had begun to land High Court work in London whilst he was still in Manchester. He was helped by John Gorna, a well connected solicitor who was described by his daughter as a member of the ‘Catholic mafia’. Gorna was godfather to Dominic Carman.

John Gorna was a Director of Manchester United and gave Carman work for the club. Carman advised the club’s Chairman Louis Edwards and his son Martin. Carman acted for George Best when Best was sued by a girlfriend – it was Gorna and Sir Matt Busby who retained Carman. The case was unexpectedly settled quickly. Carman also successfully defended George Best’s mate, Pat Crerand – another Man United player – when he broke someone’s jaw and was charged with GBH. Carman became good mates with George Best but the friendship ended abruptly after Best had an affair with Carman’s wife. When Carman lived in Altrincham his next door neighbour was Willy Morgan, the recently retired captain of Man Utd. Another neighbour was solicitor John Elliot, the son of Charles Elliot QC.

Carman worked with celebs and legal bigwigs in Manchester but he also slummed it in some well-known dives, including the Nile Club on Moss Side and Russian Dave’s which was known for prostitution. During this time Carman was regularly hiring prostitutes but was also having gay relationships.

Carman was turned down for silk in 1970 by the office of the Labour Lord Chancellor Lord Gardiner. Distraught, he went to chat to his old Oxford mate Dick Taverne, who was then Finance Secretary to the Treasury – Taverne had worked with Gardiner on the Family Law Reform Committee.

The following year not only was Carman made a QC, but he was also offered a place in the chambers of Sir Peter Rawlinson who had recently been appointed as Ted Heath’s Attorney General. Carman turned it down because he lacked the money to move to London. Carman was certainly very tempted by the offer – but if you’re going to lose thousands every month in casinos you’re going to be seriously short of money.

Carman stopped driving after the car crash that caused him to call on the services of James Anderton, after that he depended upon taxis and lifts. He was ably assisted by a retired Manchester police sergeant John Cooper who worked at the Manchester courts – after bouts of all night drinking Carman would summon Cooper who would drive him home.

As well as personal injury work resulting from industrial accidents, Carman built up quite a name for himself in personal injury cases as a result of what Dominic Carman quaintly terms ‘health authority blunders’. Carman’s adversary in the High Court in Manchester in many such cases was Patrick Russell QC, who later became an Appeal Court judge. As with so many of Carman’s ‘court room adversaries’, Russell and Carman seemed to get on very well and they were good at negotiating deals when they encountered each other in personal injury cases. One of Carman’s notable successes after a ‘health authority blunder’ secured a settlement of £310k after someone was left a paraplegic – so that was one hell of a blunder. Carman’s last case of this nature was in 1987 – by which time he was in London. He secured a settlement of £550k from Berkshire Health Authority for a 14 year old girl who suffered permanent injury after falling out of her parents car in the grounds of Eton College. How falling out of one’s parents car on the premises of the country’s most elite public school could ever be the fault of Berkshire Health Authority I cannot imagine, but then I’m not George Carman.

Although it was Carman’s success in defending Thorpe that made him a household name and took him to London in 1980, Sir David Napley – Thorpe’s solicitor who retained Carman to act for Thorpe – was alleged to have spotted Carman’s genius in 1973 when Carman acted for James Hogan, the manager of Battersea funfair. Carman had been instructed by John Gorna after Hogan was charged with the manslaughter of five children as a result of gross negligence, when an accident that should never have happened did. The case was heard at the Old Bailey – Roger Lane-Smith, a solicitor from Gorna’s firm, stayed in London with Carman for the duration of the case. Carman’s defence of Hogan was actually predicated on the argument that Hogan was so utterly incompetent that he should never have been given responsibility for managing the funfair. The strategy worked, Carman won. Napley had been involved in the trial himself, he had represented the engineer Frank Etches.

It was after this that Napley started instructing Carman.

Thorpe was not the only politician in deep shit whom Napley represented – Napley was Greville Janner’s solicitor when Janner was interviewed over child sex offences in the early 1990s. Napley was so certain that Janner would be charged that he retained Carman – but of course charges were dropped although the CPS later admitted that a prosecution should have gone ahead.

My post ‘My How Things Haven’t Changed’ discusses Thorpe’s career and his trial which I did know quite a lot about already having lived in west Somerset whilst Thorpe was busy in north Devon, but Dominic’s book supplies a few more details of which I was unaware.

Thorpe’s solicitor was initially Lord Goodman – someone else who was able to extract people from rather difficult situations – but he then hired Napley. Napley instructed Carman – but Napley had quoted a staggeringly low fee to Thorpe. Furthermore, James Goldsmith was footing the bill for a substantial chunk of it – but Carman allegedly didn’t know this. Carman did meet Thorpe for dinner on more than one occasion at Thorpe’s house at Orme Square and noticed the treasures within. Thorpe’s wife Marion had been left a wealthy woman after her divorce from the Earl of Harewood. Carman was representing Thorpe for a very low fee – he was told that the reward would be his reputation. So presumably Napley, Carman and co were pretty sure that they would be winning that case – a bit of an assumption in view of the enormous amount of evidence against Thorpe. But the tarot’s proved to be accurate – they did win.

The committal hearing for Thorpe and his co-defendants was held at Minehead Magistrates Court and Napley turned up at Minehead in his Rolls. I remember much over-awing of the bumpkins happening at the time, so this sort of grandiosity won’t have been accidental.

Kingsley Napley partner Christopher Murray later described Gareth Williams QC – later Lord Williams – as ‘very cunning’. Williams acted for one of Thorpe’s co-defendants George Deakin, a man from south Wales. Gareth Williams was from north Wales and was acquainted with many of the paedophiles’ friends. On the first day of the committal hearing Williams applied for reporting restrictions to be lifted, arguing that the interests of his client were different from his co-defendants. This derailed Norman Scott and his team who had to cope with reporting and publicity that they had not expected.

Over the next three weeks, Napley phoned Carman daily to review tactics. He was phoning Carman because Carman wasn’t at the committal hearing – Napley had insisted on doing that himself, although no-one was ever told why Napley followed this rather unusual path.

‘No Ordinary Man’ reproduces parts of the transcript of the Thorpe trial, particularly Cantley’s hectoring and downright abuse of Norman Scott both during cross-examination and in the summing up. One is reminded of how accurate Peter Cook’s satire on the bent old git was. Dominic observes that Norman Scott was ‘problematic’ because he was a ‘tough witness’ and put up a ‘good performance’, even recalling distinguishing marks on Thorpe’s body when it was suggested that Thorpe had never had a relationship with him. Yes Dominic – as I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, most of the west country put Norman’s ‘good performance’ down to the fact that he was telling the truth.

Dominic reveals that it was Lord Widgery, the Lord Chief Justice, who agreed to change the date of the trial after Callaghan announced the date of the forthcoming General Election, in which Thorpe would be standing. Dominic also reveals that Carman attempted to have Auberon Waugh, the Private Eye journo who stood against Thorpe in north Devon at the General Election, jailed if he didn’t ‘tone down’ his ‘election rhetoric’. Carman actually obtained an injunction against Waugh preventing him from distributing an election address leaflet – Carman’s original request to the Lord Chief Justice was refused, so Carman literally went straight down the corridor to the Court of Appeal and dear old Lord Denning the Master of the Rolls overturned the Lord Chief Justice’s decision and granted the injunction.

The prosecuting counsel at Thorpe’s trial was Peter Taylor QC, the son of a Top Doctor from Newcastle. Taylor had handled many personal injury cases on the North Eastern Circuit. Dominic’s book reveals that Taylor was most helpful to Thorpe’s defence barrister Carman. Taylor disclosed privately to Carman that there was ‘significant evidence’ proving that Thorpe was gay, which included a sexually explicit postcard that Thorpe had sent to a man whom he had had a relationship with. Thus Carman ensured that Thorpe was never directly questioned about his homosexuality. And of course Carman famously didn’t call Thorpe to give evidence. Dominic believes that in disclosing the info to Carman ‘Taylor’s honourable gesture reflected his strong commitment to fairness and objectivity’ and that Carman was ‘relieved’ ‘for the integrity of the Bar’ that Taylor acted as he did – it means that there  was no additional evidence of homosexuality in the prosecution case, so it was ‘a good deal for Thorpe’.

Not only that, but Taylor ‘avoided going for Thorpe’s jugular throughout the case and the closing speech was no exception’ – it was interpreted by the press as sympathetic to Thorpe. Indeed Taylor explained that Thorpe’s career had been ‘blighted by the Scott affair’, it was ‘a tragedy of truly Greek or Shakespearian proportions – the slow but inevitable destruction of a man by the stamp of one defect’.

Carman of course did go for the jugular – in his closing speech he maintained that Thorpe’s life ‘had more than its fair share of grief and agony…he had the misfortune to meet Norman Scott’. As for Norman, according to Carman he was ‘sad, mad or bad or a combination of all three, I care not’.

Whilst they were awaiting the verdict, Thorpe and his co-defendants lunched in a private room at the Old Bailey on smoked salmon, beef and Chablis – the grub was provided by Thorpe’s Liberal Party friend and colleague the molester Clement Freud.

The Carmans stayed in touch with Thorpe and Dominic recalls that in 2001 he was lunching with him when it was revealed that Thorpe had ‘joked’ to Carman that if he got him off he’d make him a High Court judge. In reality though even after Carman did do as required, it was many months before Thorpe even wrote to thank Carman and when he did, Thorpe simply observed that ‘as for the Bench, I am sure that it will only be a matter of time’.

So what became of the esteemed lawyers after the trial? Carman’s fees rocketed and work flooded in. Peter Taylor became a judge, Chaired the Hillsborough Disaster Inquiry and between 1992-96 was Lord Chief Justice. Judge Joseph Cantley disappeared into oblivion – as Peter Cook quipped when he was playing the part of the Biased Judge summing up for the jury ‘and now you must retire – as must I – and consider your verdict of not guilty’. Dominic reveals that at the time of the trial Carman had known Cantley for 20 years. Cantley had been the Presiding judge on the Northern Circuit where Carman had practised. Cantley was the son of a Top Doctor, a product of Manchester Grammar School and Manchester University who unusually had married the widow of his pupil master.

So had there been ‘a strong commitment to fairness and objectivity’? Or the most disgraceful crucifixion of a man who had been the target of a murder plot by a bunch of corrupt lawyers and politicians who were all connected with each other and realised that goodies would come their way as long as they let a potential murderer – who was connected to them – walk free?

The official story is that Carman was plucked from obscurity in the north to a glittering life in London after working miracles at Thorpe’s trial. But what if someone in London knew that there was a barrister in the north who boozed excessively, who had huge gambling debts, who was close to scores of crooked people from all walks of life but who was also well-connected with ‘respectable’ members of society – someone who not only needed a barrister for the Thorpe trial but who thought that such a barrister might prove very useful if they were based in London rather than Manchester?

A theme one constantly encounters when reading about George Carman and his excesses is that people ‘liked him’. But people were also very, very frightened of him. Probably far too frightened to admit that they didn’t like him at all.

After the Thorpe trial, Carman acted in two more high profile trials before he moved to London.

In 1980 in Leeds Carman represented Lord Kagan in the Kagan Textiles Case – Kagan’s manufactured the famous Gannex raincoats as sported by Harold Wilson and Prince Philip even after the shit hit the fan. Kagan was found guilty of theft and false accounting and went to prison. He kept his seat in the Lords and whilst he was in prison he negotiated a business deal to supply the prison service with uniforms.

In Carman’s last big case in Manchester he acted for the Police Federation on behalf of four police officers who ‘had been involved’ in the death of Jimmy Kelley in Liverpool. The officers received support from the local MP – a Harold Wilson. A verdict of ‘death by misadventure’ was returned.

The Police Federation supported North Wales Police’s senior officer Gordon Anglesea throughout his trial for abusing children, supported him in his plans to appeal after he was convicted and offered to pay his legal costs and turned out in force at his funeral to give him a good send off.

When Carman sold his house in Altrincham to move to London, the money that he received from the sale went to pay his gambling debts to the Manchester Playboy Club. Carman had a symbiotic relationship with casinos and clubs – he ran up huge debts with them but they also frequently used him for legal advice when they were applying for licences.

After moving to London Carman became head of New Court Chambers. Throughout the 1980s his supporting juniors in New Court were Michael Brompton and Tony Clover. Brompton knew Carman very well because he shared a room in Chambers with him.

It was in London that Carman developed his reputation as a libel lawyer, particularly for celebs.

Carman handled two libel cases for Richard Branson – Hugh Tomlinson was Carman’s junior for those. Charles Howard QC was his junior when he acted for Phil Lynott and Maria Aitken (in drugs cases rather than libel). Charles Howard married Rosie Boycott, who was editor of the Indie and the Express and who was a friend of Carman – Carman was best man at their wedding.

Carman picked up international work and was involved in cases in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Washington and New York. By the early 1980s he had come to the attention of Sir Denys Roberts, Hong Kong’s Chief Justice and was offered a position as a High Court judge in Hong Kong. Carman really wanted such a position in England – so off he trotted for a chat with his mate Lord Denning, Master of the Rolls. Denning had a word with the Lord Chief Justice, Geoffrey Lane – it is the Lord Chief Justice who makes the recommendations for High Court appointments to the Lord Chancellor. Denning had previously worked with Lord Lane. Sadly Lane told Denning that Carman was not on his list. Carman decided to take up the offer from Hong Kong. However for some reason he changed his mind during a stay in Leicester of all places.

Carman was in Leicester in 1981 for the trial of Dr Leonard Arthur at Leicester Crown Court. Leonard Arthur was on trial after he had ordered nursing staff to provide no care or treatment to a newly born baby with Down’s syndrome. Arthur also prescribed doses of dihydrocodeine. Unsurprisingly the baby died. I can remember this case well and although the prosecution was brought by the anti-abortion group LIFE – and this is what Dominic has recorded in his book – the only reason why anyone at all got to hear about the baby’s death was because a nurse who witnessed what had happened was appalled at the deliberate killing of a disabled, but very much alive, baby. At the time that nurse was constructed as an interfering know nothing who was well above her station. These days she would be called a whistleblower.

Douglas Draycott QC acted for the prosecution, Carman for the defence. Carman did not put Leonard Arthur into the witness box. However he did call a nurse, a Margaret Slater – who casually mentioned in her evidence that her own baby would not be here today if it wasn’t for Dr Arthur. I don’t know how she managed to be in Court on that day, it is all rather reminiscent of the way that Jani Allan’s old diaries turned up in Court at a crucial moment. The nurse saved Dr Arthur’s neck and he was found not guilty. The nurse was assisted by Carman who ‘destroyed’ Prof Alan Usher, the Home office pathologist who was ready with evidence about the damage to the baby’s brain. The Presiding judge was Justice Farquarson.

History records that Leonard Arthur was not someone who didn’t think that disabled people were worth keeping alive, but someone who was a caring Top Doctor, selflessly devoted to children, worked night and day for the greater good of the nation’s infants – you get the picture.

So what happened in Leicester to persuade Carman to turn down the job of a High Court judge in Hong Kong and remain in England working as a barrister instead? Who knows.

Leicester County Council of course had a problem with a paedophile ring in its children’s services, a ring that Lord Greville Janner was alleged to have been involved with. Frank Beck, the notorious social worker who devised whacky therapies which served as a cover for his abuse of children, was given five life sentences for sexually abusing hundreds of children in 1991. Beck had been involved with the Liberal Party.

One lawyer was particularly impressed by George Carman’s successful defence of a doctor who finished off a baby with learning disabilities – that was a Cherie Booth who praised Carman for ensuring that ‘justice’ prevailed. In the 1980s Cherie Booth was a barrister in New Court Chambers! There was another barrister in New Court as well, who was Carman’s junior – Cherie knew him well, he was a Tony Blair!

Now the Blairs have kept THAT quiet – I’ve been trying to find out in which chambers old Blair worked before he became an MP and it’s not a piece of info that appears in any of the obvious places. But now I know. Blair never forgot the talents of his former boss. Within six months of Blair becoming Prime Minister, Carman found himself at a reception in Downing Street along with Richard Branson when Blair told Branson that Carman was the best lawyer that he could have found.

In Nov 1982 Carman defended Geoffrey Prime who worked for GCHQ but also spied for the KGB. Prime was a paedophile and a member of PIE who had been involved with under-aged girls in the Cheltenham/Gloucester area. Carman’s junior in that case was Tony Clover and the Presiding judge was Lord Chief Justice Lane. Prime was convicted, so Carman took the case to appeal – it was dismissed by Lord Justice Lawton.

Carman was involved in the case involving the grisly death of Roberto Calvi who in 1982 was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London. Calvi had been President of the ‘Vatican’s Bank’, Banco Ambrosiano and was believed many, including his family, to have been murdered. Lurid stories of Masonic corruption and involvement with Opus Dei circulated – and all the money was missing from the bank. David Napley represented Calvi’s family at the inquest which was held by Dr David Paul, the coroner for the City of London – Paul rushed the inquiry. The autopsy was carried out by Prof Keith Simpson. A suicide verdict was returned – which was widely ridiculed because there were numerous aspects of the case which suggested that Calvi had been the victim of a bizarre crime. His underpants were full of bricks which was a bit weird and his hands were clean and well-manicured, which if he’d been crawling around under Blackfriars Bridge hanging himself they would not have been. Carman wanted a fresh inquest in front of Lord Geoffrey Lane. In March 1983 the Lord Chief Justice agreed to overturn the verdict. A new coroner was appointed, Dr Graham Davies and an open verdict was returned in June 1983.

In 1983 in Burnley Carman defended Peter Adamson aka Len Fairclough from Coronation Street after he was charged with indecently assaulting two eight year old girls in a swimming pool. Adamson was cleared although it was alleged that Carman believed that he had been guilty. In 1988 Adamson flogged a story to the Sun admitting that he had been guilty.

Following the Adamson revelations, in 1989 Prof George Steiner joked about Carman’s ability to get anyone off just about anything. It increased Carman’s business.

Carman’s close female friends in London included Sue Cook from BBC’s Crimewatch, Pippa Jessel the former wife of Tory MP Toby Jessel, Frances Heggarty/Hyfield the barrister/crime writer and Lady Annunziata Asquith.

Dominic relates a very worrying story when read in the light of Carman’s conduct towards his female partners and his links with questionable people in high places. Dominic tells us that in 1984 Carman had a ‘close relationship’ with a 30 year old woman but the ’10 month relationship ended with disastrous consequences’. The lady moved to London and into Carman’s Lincoln’s Inn flat and was ‘surprised when he showed no physical interest in her’. I think that we’ve been here before. This woman was ’emotionally volatile’ and Carman’s ‘subsequent humiliation of her precipitated a nervous breakdown’. According to Dominic, George was terrified of anything to do with mental illness – he asked Dominic ‘to accompany him as he registered her as a psychiatric inpatient, before telling her mother to come and pick up the pieces’.

Now there’s a story. So what did Carman do to the ’emotionally volatile’ lady whom he had invited to move in with him? Or what had she witnessed or found out? Which hospital so obligingly admitted her as an in-patient and how did they repackage the horror? I think we should be told…

One of Carman’s most famous triumphs was successfully defending Ken Dodd after Dodd was charged with tax evasion. The presiding judge was none other than our old friend – and indeed Carman’s old friend – Ronnie Waterhouse, the prosecuting counsel was Brian Leveson and the trial was held at Liverpool Crown Court. Waterhouse was a member of the Garrick – as was Carman and indeed their mutual friend Robin Day. Waterhouse also knew Thorpe through their Liberal Party activities.

Ken Dodd was a much-loved son of Liverpool. Waterhouse was born just a few miles away from Ken Dodd’s birthplace. The not guilty verdict caused much entertainment because of the overwhelming amount of evidence against Dodd – Dodd himself joked about not paying his taxes. The Inland Revenue had discovered accounts of Dodd’s in Jersey and the Isle of Man, there was thousands of pounds in used notes secreted about his house, there were references to wheelbarrows of money being moved around, it was ridiculous. A neighbour commented to me at the time that it looked as though the only questions would be ‘which prison and for how many years?’

At the opening of the trial Carman claimed that Dodd was suffering from ventricular tachycardia, a potentially fatal condition, that Dodd was in imminent danger of death and that the trial would almost certainly kill him. Carman tried to get the trial stopped on medical grounds – two weeks before the trial Carman had sent Dodd to a heart specialist, although the date for the trial had been set many months previously. The trial did go ahead and Dodd is still alive – and performing – today, nearly twenty years later.

The Top Doctor who gave evidence that Dodd was about to drop dead was Dr Rhys Williams from Manchester Royal Infirmary. However another Top Doctor, Prof John Camm, testified that Dodd was fit for trial. Camm worked at St Georges Hospital Medical School, so God only knows how anyone persuaded him to give evidence against a dodgy lawyer. Er – yes, I’ve just realised the significance of that quip – dear old St George’s had an awful lot to hide and had participated in some terrible things at the time of Dodd’s trial.

There also seem to have been some porkies told about Dodd’s age at his trial. Dodd’s Who’s Who entries for years have stated that he is four years younger than the age given when he stood trial.

Carman read out letters from Harold Wilson, Ted Heath and Margaret Thatcher at Dodd’s trial, all supportive of Dodd. Character evidence was supplied by Roy Hudd, Eric Sykes, Michael Billington, John Fisher (the head of Variety at Thames Television) and Shelia Murray (the Secretary of Clatterbridge Hospital’s Cancer Research Trust – Dodd had helped them raise £10 million).

It was revealed at the trial that in 1984 Reginald Hunter – Dodd’s accountant between 1972-82 – had been prosecuted at Mold Crown Court for false accounting to enable other clients to avoid tax. Waterhouse grew up in Flintshire and retained close links there. Mold is the legal/administrative centre of Flintshire.

The barrister on the losing side of the Dodd case, Brian Leveson, did OK for himself. He became a High Court judge and Lord Leveson found fame and fortune when he Chaired the 2011-12 public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press. Like Dodd, Leveson was a local boy made big from Liverpool.

Carman got into libel work via Oscar Beuselinck, whom Carman knew as the in-house lawyer for the Mirror News Group. Back in the 50s Oscar had represented entertainers, including John Osborne. He had become a Director of Woodfall Films with Osborne and acted for Hollywood clients. In the 70s Oscar began taking defamation work. He sued Private Eye in the 60s but then became their principal solicitor, representing them against Robert Maxwell in 1986. Maxwell himself then recruited Oscar in 1989, although Oscar resigned after a damning Panorama documentary on Maxwell was screened in 1991 – however he did remain as a consultant to Maxwell.

Carman’s juniors in libel cases were Adrienne Page, Victoria Sharp, Andrew Caldecott, James Price, Heather Rogers and Hugh Tomlinson.

Not only do the same names keep cropping up in terms of barristers whom Carman worked with or faced as opponents in Court, but the same judges keep popping up as well. Carman appeared many times in the Court of Mr Justice Drake. We know that judges are impartial of course but in one case Drake made it clear after the case that he was delighted that Carman had won the case. That case in question was the 1989 libel action against the News of the World – owned by the News Group, Murdoch’s empire – brought by Sonia Sutcliffe, the wife of Peter Sutcliffe. The News of the Screws admitted that they HAD defamed Sonia Sutcliffe, they had even paid £50k into Court, but Sutcliffe wanted more. Barbara Jones, a journo for the Mail on Sunday was named as a co-defendant – if Sonia won, Jones would have been liable for the News of the Screws’ indemnity damages and costs, which would have left Jones financially ruined. The potential for this had led to total hostility between Jones and News Group. Now Jones had previously been on holiday with Sonia and they had been pretty good friends – they had been planning to write a book together. But it was Jones’s evidence in Court that completely shafted Sonia Sutcliffe – evidence that Jones had gained regarding Sonia’s alleged attitude towards her husbands crimes during their holiday. Jones defended herself in Court – but she much appreciated Carman’s ‘quiet support and encouragement’. He advised her and told her what to do and say in Court, including telling her to ‘rile’ Sonia.

Sonia Sutcliffe lost the case and was left with a bill for 1/4 of a million quid.

There was little public sympathy for Sonia Sutcliffe at the time – she was the wife of a serial killer, there were allegations flying that she knew that her husband had been attacking women and she’d already won a number of big settlements from newspapers in libel cases.

Something else was happening at the time. The press were desperate to stem the tide of libel awards. The settlements were getting bigger and bigger and it was costing them a great deal of money. One man in particular was costing them a fortune – George Carman.

The more that I find out about the Sonia Sutcliffe case the more that it looks as though the sort of deal that seems to have happened in the Thorpe trial had occurred. A group of very greedy, very unscrupulous, very powerful people could well have got together behind the scenes and come to a convenient arrangement. The only person who didn’t benefit was Sonia Sutcliffe. But she wasn’t a press baron, or a journo or a lawyer. She was the wife of a murderer. Carman was hailed as a hero in the press and Tom Crone, News Group’s lawyer – a barrister who had previously worked for the Mirror Group – made a triumphalist speech outside of the Court. Crone was a close friend of Carman. In 2011 Crone resigned from his job as News International’s legal affairs manager during the phone hacking scandal, after it was revealed that the phone of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler had been hacked.

Not only did Justice Drake announce his satisfaction with the verdict – the Justice Drake who later presided over the libel case brought by Gordon Anglesea in which Carman represented Private Eye and others against Anglesea but lost – but the Private Eye lot were so pleased that they held a party which Carman attended. Sonia had successfully sued them previously…

The Jani Allan case that I mentioned earlier also occurred at the time that newspapers were worried about spiralling libel costs. Like Sonia Sutcliffe, Jani Allan had won a number of libel cases. It was Carman who finished Jani Allan off – but her counsel was Charles Howard QC, Carman’s mate.

I mentioned that Carman produced some interesting medical evidence in the Ken Dodd trial. Carman seemed to know some very helpful Top Doctors. In 1987 Carman’s former best man and good friend from Oxford Vivian Price QC was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and driving twice whilst disqualified. Price was a senior barrister and a High Court judge. Carman obtained medical evidence at the 11th hour stating that Price had a brain tumour. It got Price off a prison sentence. The very understanding judge was Justice Farquarson – who had presided over the trial of Dr Leonard Arthur in which Carman had triumphed.

Carman also produced a helpful medical expert when he defended the Sun in 1994 after Gillian Taylforth the Eastenders actress brought a libel case against them. Taylforth and her partner Geoff Knights had been stopped on a motorway and Knights had been arrested and charged with driving offences. A policeman then sold a story to the Sun claiming that Gillian Taylforth had been giving Knights oral sex in the car. Taylforth and Knights denied it and their story was that Knights suffered from pancreatitis, had been in pain, so Taylforth undid his trousers to rub his belly. Carman produced Dr Iain Murray Lyon, a pancreatitis specialist, who testified that Knights could have been faking the pancreatitis attack by describing the symptoms. Well yes he could, but Dr Lyon was not there at the time so had no idea at all whether Knights was making it up or not. Not only did Carman produce a Top Doctor out of the hat, but at the beginning of the second week of the trial a video arrived at court. It was a film six years old of a drunken party attended by the Eastenders cast. Taylforth could be seen messing around with a sausage joking about oral sex and gesticulating with a bottle between her legs. She was fully clothed, it was daylight and there were many people present – it was hardly an orgy and wasn’t that shocking. But Carman made it sound like Sodom and Gomorrah. Taylforth lost the case and became so distressed that she collapsed and had to be wheeled out of the court on a stretcher attached to a supply of oxygen. Everyone had a real laugh and once again Tom Crone appeared outside the Court to crow. Michael Beloff QC acted for Taylforth but no-one asked what a policeman was doing selling a story to the Sun or how an ancient video of a party long-forgotten had found its way into Carman’s hands at a most convenient time.

As for the Top Doctor – Dr Iain Murray-Lyon works at Harley Street and at the Edward VII Hospital. That hospital was featured in my post ‘Update On ‘Tainted Blood’ Scandal’. It was the hospital which employed the nurse who looked after the Duchess of Cambridge when she suffered from severe pregnancy-induced vomiting who committed suicide when some Australian shock jocks rang up pretending to be the Queen. The Chairman of the hospital was Lord Simon Glenarthur – who is also the Director of the MDU and was the Health Minister responsible for the NHS ‘tainted blood’ scandal (see post ‘Running The Country – And All That Jazz…’).

Figures from the whole spectrum of the press loved Carman and utilised his talents. Yet he threatened and crapped on them as well. In 1982 Carman had Sir David English the editor of the Daily Mail fined for contempt for a prejudicial article about the Leonard Arthur case. Ten years later when Carman discovered that his ex-wife had given an interview to the Daily Mail he leant on English – who was still the editor – to tone down the article. It was published two days after the verdict following Carman’s savaging of Jani Allan in Court.

In July 1993 Carman was retained by Ian Burton to defend John Jermyn Hervey, the Marquis of Bristol, on drugs charges. The trial was at Snaresbrook Crown Court and the judge was Owen Stable QC. During the trial – and in his consultations with Carman before the trial – Hervey took both coke and heroin (he was even consuming drugs in the bogs in Court). The sentence was deferred on the grounds that Hervey was receiving treatment in the Charter Clinic, Chelsea. Before sentencing Hervey discharged himself from the clinic and went to France on a massive drugs binge. Carman put in a plea for mitigation based on Hervey’s deprived childhood no less, but he was jailed nonetheless. Hervey died from an AIDS related illness in 1999. He was a wildly promiscuous user of rent boys and by his own estimation had sex with thousands of them. Presumably infecting more than a few.

In Nov 1993 Elton John retained Carman to take on Carman’s own friends at Mirror Group Newspapers – Carman had secured a settlement of £1 million for Elton in 1988 after the Sun alleged that Elton John had suffered from an eating disorder which resulted in him spitting food out. The ever dependable Justice Drake presided and awarded exemplary damages to Elton. However in 1995 the Court of Appeal reduced the damages and laid out recommendations for future damages – just when the press really needed it. This bought an end to juries imposing punitive damages on newspapers and also resulted in the settlement of a libel action brought by Michael Jackson agains Mirror Group Newspapers.

Whoever could tell who was dealing with who behind the scenes and who was stuffing who over? Although the press barons got bigger and bigger and Carman became richer and richer and even more feared.

In 1998 the Times speculated that Carman’s earnings had dropped off – Carman was so cross that he phoned Clare Dyer, the Guardian’s legal correspondent and Frances Gibb, the Times’ legal editor and ensured that Gibb was au fait with his present success and recent work. Gibb duly obliged by running a big article the following week that flattered Carman.

Carman revelled in his Hollywood clients, including Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. He was retained by them in 1997 after a Sunday Express article made allegations about their involvement with Scientology, Cruise’s alleged infertility and the couple’s unhappy marriage. Carman sent ‘compelling medical evidence’ to the Express Group and in Oct 1998 the Express Group paid Cruise and Kidman damages and costs. They divorced some two years later amid allegations of Scientology and marital distress.

In 2000 the celebrity chef Marco Pierre White sued the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. Geoffrey Ripon QC acted for the newspapers and Carman acted for White. Carman won and the day after the damages were awarded White got married – Michael Winner was the best man and George Carman was a guest.

I remember hearing about Marco Pierre White in the early 1990s, from a young woman who had worked for him in London. This young woman had some very interesting stories – stories of drug use, of sexual exploitation and chaos in the business. She claimed to have had sex with White herself – in fact she told me that she had been in some sort of relationship with him whilst his ‘official’ partner was somebody else. Not that the young woman in question will ever be able to flog a story to anyone about it all – because she was an in-patient at the Hergest Unit, with ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ of course. She had grown up in north Wales, gone to university in London and met Marco Pierre White down there. Her parents confirmed that. But after a rather wild time in London she had a breakdown and was brought back to Wales – by a Top Doctor – and sectioned at Ysbyty Gwynedd. By exactly the same social workers and Top Doctors who unlawfully imprisoned me, pretty much at the same time that I was unlawfully detained. Her parents also told me that the law had been repeatedly broken and when they complained about it Gwynedd Social Services and Ysbyty Gwynedd lied constantly. I got to know this young woman quite well over the following years. Her one desire was to ‘get better’ and go back to London. The mental health services were very keen for her not to do this. I and her other friends used to notice that on a number of occasions she seemed to recover from her distress and enrol for courses, find jobs etc. But every time that she began to improve, the Top Doctors at Hergest – usually Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) – would alter her ‘medication’ and within three weeks she would be back in hospital, usually sectioned. It makes me wonder what goes on in Marco Pierre White’s world.

Carman took to hosting parties in the 1990s. He held a bash in the summer of 1993. Guests included the Lord Chief Justice, Sue Lawley, Ian Hislop, Norman Lamont, Sir David English (Chair of Associated Newspapers, which was the major shareholder of Euromoney Publications, Dominic Carman’s employers). Carman held another knees-up in 1998 at the Ritz, but a lot of people seemed to be unavailable, including Tom Bingham the Lord Chief Justice, David Frost, Elton John, Ian Hislop, Mo Mowlam, Imran Khan and his wife Jemima, Richard Branson and Jeffrey Archer. Those who did attend included  Dominic Lawson, Robin Day, Sue Cook, P.D. James, Freddie Forsythe, Lord Robert Alexander QC, Lord Gareth Williams, Lord Grabiner, Aidan Barclay and the Blairs, who dropped in on their way to Tuscany! Conrad Black turned up after the party had ended.

In 1998 Sir Ronnie Waterhouse had just finished taking evidence about the most appalling abuse of children in care in north Wales at the public inquiry which he was Chairing. A lot of people were very shocked at what witnessed said about their time in north Wales children’s homes in the 70s and 80s – it was far worse than anyone expected. A number of male  witnesses talked about being taken to Cheshire and London to be sexually abused by older men.

In 1993 George Carman purchased a house in Wimbledon and lived there until 1999. Wimbledon is just down the road from St George’s Hospital Medical School and is the preferred location for the residences of the senior staff of that institution. In 1999 Carman moved to another house in Wimbledon. He held a party there after winning the case for Al Fayed against Neil Hamilton.

Blair was not the only Prime Minister who had reason to be grateful to Carman. In April 1994 he acted for Thatcher in a copyright dispute involving her memoirs. In 1995 he was retained by John Major after the New Statesman published allegations about Clare Latimer. Major stopped the retention of Carman after the Observer published a comment about Carman offering free advice to Major – an apology to Carman was published and somehow John Major’s action was settled shortly afterwards.

Aspiring Prime Ministers sought Carman’s help as well. Portillo retained Carman with regard to the allegations of past homosexual activity on the part of Portillo – until Portillo decided to admit publicly that in the past he had participated in gay sex.

Very rich people whose funding is vital to Prime Ministers also beat a path to Carman’s door. In 1999 Carman advised Michael Ashcroft when he sued the Times after they published allegations of money laundering and drugs related crimes. Ashcroft met with Carman and that afternoon met with Murdoch after Jeff Randall acted as the broker to get them together. A deal was struck with a settlement. In the mid 1990s I knew someone who responded to the TV adverts that were being screened in Wales at the time urging people to report crime to Crimestoppers. This person reported the suspicious death of an elderly lady in one of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’s ‘nursing homes’ and also reported one of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’s ‘substance abuse patients’ who was openly seeling Class A drugs to schoolchildren in Bangor. No action was taken, so this person rang Crimestoppers again a few weeks later and repeated their allegations. They were told that Crimestoppers would not be taking any action because Crimestoppers were treating these calls as hoaxes.

Lord Michael Ashcroft funded and established Crimestoppers.

I suppose that it was inevitable that Jeffrey Archer crossed Carman’s path. In Oct 1999 Carman was retained by Eversheds to act for Archer in libel procedings against the Times. The matter was settled, an apology was issued and damages paid. In Dec 1999, new evidence emerged regarding a libel trial involving Archer and the Star twelve years previously. Carman was asked by Lovells – solicitors for Express Newspapers – to act against Archer in appealing the Star libel decision. Carman had been advising Archer eight weeks earlier. Carman held a conference at Lovells with David Pannick QC to discuss strategy. The civil action was abandoned in April 2000 when Archer faced criminal charges. Archer wrote to Carman in Oct 2000 regarding his impending trial for perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice, requesting lunch with Carman in order to ‘discuss matters’.

Another crook of impressive proportions who had dealings wirth Carman was Robert Maxwell. Between 1990-91 Maxwell was a regular client of Carman’s. Carman almost got into charity work through Maxwell. Carman supported Shelter and Maxwell promised to run a Mirror campaign for the homeless but it never happened. Carman parted company  with Shelter soon afterwards stating that he was fed up of giving them money. Carman had been acting for Maxwell in a libel case against the BBC but Maxwell went overboard before the case was heard. After Maxwell’s death Kevin Maxwell took over the Maxwell Communication Group and Ian Maxwell took over the Mirror Group. There  was of course the matter of the missing £426 million fron two pension funds at the Mirror Group. In Jan 1992 Carman appeared for Kevin in front of the Commons Select Committee – John Jarvis QC appeared for Ian and the Chair of the Committee was Frank Field. David Pannick QC was a member of the Maxwell’s advisory team. Carman visited Kevin’s wife Pandora at home to chat with her about the deep shit that the Maxwells were in. However Carman declined to defend Kevin at his subsequent trial – Carman told Clare Dyer of the Gyardian that he didn’t want to be committed to a long legal aid defence. Carman was therefore in breach of Bar Council rules but who cares about that, the Maxwells had no dosh anymore…

In 1993 Carman represented Branson in a libel claim against British Airways and secured a settlement of £610k. The settlement was somehow leaked to the Sun and was a scoop for David Yelland, the then City editor. Five years later Murdoch made Yelland the editor. In 1998 Carman represented Branson again, in a libel case against Guy Snowden, a major lottery operator. The presiding judge was Justice Morland – who also presided over the trial of the two ten year olds who killed James Bulger – who had known Carman for 50 years. They had been contemporaries at Oxford and both worked on the Northern  Circuit.

In the late 1990s Al Fayed was a regular client of Carman’s – numerous cases of Al Fayed’s were settled out of court or dropped. In 1999 Carman represented Al Fayed against Neil Hamilton – Desmond Browne QC acted for Hamilton and Justice Morland presided. One of Al Fayed’s many accusations against Hamilton was that Hamilton had procured rent boys. Hamilton was the MP for the Cheshire constituency that bordered on Sir Peter Morrison constituency and Hamilton and his wife attended social functions with Morrison. Carman won that case. Prior to that in 1995 Hamilton had sued the Guardian for libel – Carman succeeded in getting the case stopped on a point of law. Hamilton enlisted the help of Thatcher who had the law changed in Hamilton’s favour.

Carman did of course advise members of the Royal Family – including Diana, Prince Michael of Kent and Sarah Ferguson.

In 2000 Carman dissolved New Court Chambers and joined Elizabeth Appleby QC in her chambers – Carman took the room vacated by Cherie Booth, who had left to form Matrix. The former joint head of the chambers Michael Beloff QC left shortly after Carman joined.

Not only did Carman have access to helpful Top Doctors for his work as a barrister but he had his very own helpful Top Doctor on tap for his own medical needs – Dr Annie Coxon, a Harley street physician and neurologist. Annie Coxon was always on hand to deal with Carman’s ‘crises’ – which were nearly always a result of Carman drinking so much that he needed medical attention. On one occasion he collapsed in Court as a result of intoxication and Coxon even set up a drip for him as she attended. Coxon was known to take calls from Carman regularly in the early hours of the morning, she made sure that she was always available. There seems to have been major discord between Coxon and the Top Doctors who treated Carman at the end of his life when he developed cancer. He was of course treated privately by other Harley Street Top Doctors at the London Clinic but they seemed to freeze Coxon out of his care and she was not happy about this.

Coxon was a Catholic but converted to Islam over twenty years ago. She was introduced to Islam by the mother of the Sultan of Oman who was one of her patients. She was also the personal doctor of Al Fayed. Coxon was also the doctor of Jade Goody and was most critical of the NHS after Goody’s death from cancer.

Carman died of cancer in Jan 2001. Before he died he was courted by many cancer charities – he settled on supporting the Cancer Research Campaign (CRCUK) after Prof Gordon McVie visited him at home. His memorial service was attended by a number of people including Cherie Blair and Jeremy Thorpe.

George Carman seems to have touched the lives of a great many people who were involved in concealing the North Wales Child Abuse Ring. Carman’s mycelia reached everywhere. I was particularly surprised to find out that Carman’s senior clerk in New Court Chambers Bill Conner – Carman’s right hand man after Carman moved to London – was a keen birder. Enthusiastic birders get to know each other and travel across the UK regularly – the wealthier ones travel internationally. I have mentioned that my group of friends whilst I was at university in the early/mid-80s were birders – our house on Anglesey was the centre of much Bangor Bird Group activity. In 1985 just before we were all due to leave north Wales, my closest friend at university and house mate was killed in a car crash. My friend’s former boyfriend, also a well-known birder, was left brain-damaged and paralysed. My friend knew all about the problems that I was having with the north Wales mental health services. She was killed when a TR7 crashed into her head on whilst it was travelling on her side of the road. The driver of the TR7 was unscathed except for a broken arm. There was no investigation into the crash. A few weeks later Dr DGE Wood, the corrupt GP whom I now know was working very hard to conceal the criminal activities in north Wales and who ran the Student Health Centre at Bangor University, had a huge row with me when once more I raised the question of the misconduct of his colleagues. He finished by yelling at me that there was nothing for me in north Wales anymore and that I ought to leave the area and forget about everything that had happened there. A few days after my friend’s death, Wood’s colleague, the nurse who worked in the Student Health Centre, took my friend’s file out of the records locker and wrote ‘DEAD’ across the front of it in front of me. I wonder whether that was supposed to have been some sort of warning.

Ooh, nearly forgot – Sir John Kay, the High Court judge who issued Gwynedd Social Services with an injunction against me on the basis of affidavits from two social workers who perjured themselves (one of whom had never met me and the other one who had met me at most on three occasions) was a judge on the Northern Circuit. I could not work out at the time why a bunch of crooked social workers from Caernarfon had gone all the way to Leeds High Court to seek out a judge.

Sir John Kay knew George Carman.

Nasty business, organised child sexual abuse.