Don’t Be Silly, He’s Nice

Most of Ronnie Waterhouse’s whitewash was dedicated to excusing people employed in social care or social work who had abused children in care. However for those of us au fait with the mental health services in north Wales, there is a chapter that makes even more dreadful reading than the rest of the Waterhouse Report – the chapter concerning Gwynfa, a residential NHS unit for children with mental health problems, or in Ronnie’s parlance, ’emotionally disturbed and maladjusted children’. I need to remind readers yet again here that Ronnie’s definition of ‘disturbed’ and ‘maladjusted’, or indeed the mental health service’s definition, may well not be what the rest of the world – even in those days – would define as disturbed or maladjusted. In north Wales NHS speak it simply means that you’ve complained about a Top Doctor breaking the law or abusing their position. Ronnie’s chapter on Gwynfa demonstrates that this was as true in the children’s mental health services as it was in the adults’ services.

Gwynfa was a residential unit in Colwyn Bay that was a combined clinic and school. It was established in 1961 as an NHS psychiatric hospital for children with an on-site school. With the establishment of Clwyd County Council in 1974 the residential/clinic part became the responsibility of Clwyd Health Authority and the school became the responsibility of Clwyd County Council. Until 1982/83 the North Wales Child Guidance Clinic Service offered and monitored admissions, but after that it was administered by the Mental Health Unit of Clwyd Health Authority – yes, that bunch of goons who allowed Dr Dafydd Alun Jones to illegally bang up anyone who crossed his path, who oversaw a shagfest in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and who failed to investigate any complaints, even those of serious abuse of patients. Gwynfa by this time was an 18 bed unit for children below school leaving age, staffed by eight qualified nurses, six ‘other’ nurses (who won’t have actually been nurses if they weren’t qualified) and four psychologists. A child psychiatrist, Dr Barry Kiehn, was appointed in 1981 his remit being specifically Gwynfa and according to Waterhouse it was at this time that ‘the concept of a therapeutic community was introduced’. In April 1993 the administration of Gwynfa was taken over by the Clwydian Community Care NHS Trust after an NHS reorganisation. Of course the people managing and staffing the Clwydian Community Care NHS Trust were exactly the same corrupt old gits who had managed and staffed the previous organisations. Letters in my possession regarding my own case written after the ‘reorganisation’ are signed by exactly the same people and use exactly the same phrases as before. Believe me, nothing changed. The average stay for the patients at Gwynfa was five months, although some were there a lot longer.

The overall responsibility for managing Gwynfa was taken by the Principal Nursing Officer, who was responsible for recruitment and selection of staff. They reported to the Unit Nursing Officer (later known as the Director of Nursing Services) at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, who visited Gwynfa about once a month. So Gwynfa was ultimately run by the person who ran Denbigh. When I read that I knew that the tales from the children at Gwynfa would be bad. Gwynfa was shut down in 1997 – I wonder whether that decision had been made in anticipation of what former patients might say to the Waterhouse Inquiry.

Between 1972-1990 the Principal Nursing Officer for Gwynfa was Nigel Mannering Berry. By 1972 he had already been employed there for nine years. Waterhouse tells us that Berry qualified as a registered mental nurse in 1959 and had been previously employed at Denbigh. So the ‘therapeutic community’ for children was run by something out of the ark who had worked at Denbigh when Gwynne the lobotomist was in full swing. Waterhouse notes that Berry had no specific training in dealing with ‘disturbed’ children. Waterhouse states that since 1974 there had been five internal investigations/reviews of the conduct of specific members of nursing staff at Gwynfa.

In 1986 a male member of staff had head butted a boy patient. The nurse received a final warning (which suggests that he’d done similar things previously) and was transferred to ‘another hospital’ for adults. Probably the North Wales Hospital, presumably so he could head butt patients there.

In 1991 an investigation was held into the relationship between a 16 year old girl with a depressive disorder and a 45 year old auxillary nurse, Robert Martin Williams. We are told that the investigation began after a ‘letter’ was found, but staff were unable to encourage the girl to supply details of Williams’s activities. I wonder how hard they tried. Waterhouse notes that Williams had been previously ‘counselled’ (!) regarding his behaviour towards patients after other staff members raised concerns about him. He denied an unspecified ‘offence’ and resigned. Waterhouse goes on to explain that in 1996 the girl told the police that Williams had actually raped her twice. Waterhouse refers to a ‘highly incriminating letter’ which he had seen himself. Williams was charged with two counts of rape and in March 1997 was convicted at Mold Crown Court of both offences and sentenced to six years in prison. I note that like many other children at Gwynfa this girl had not been in care, so could not even be dehumanised and dishonoured like so many of the ‘troublesome’ young people in the children’s homes who were abused. Neither was she ‘disturbed’ or ‘maladjusted’ – even Gwynfa described her as ‘depressed’. So a 16 year old girl with depression was raped twice by a member of staff. And nothing happened until some years later when there was a major police investigation into the care of children in north Wales. Had there not been that investigation, Clwyd Health Authority and the North Wales Hospital would have sat on those rapes forever. Waterhouse notes that the girl who had been raped ‘did not feel able’ to use the complaints system. No-one asked her why. Of course, readers who have read my earlier posts will know that by the time that this teenager ‘did not feel able’ to use the complaints system, I had used that system and I had used it to raise concerns about, among other things, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’s conduct towards female patients and staff at the North Wales Hospital physically assaulting patients. I got nowhere and interestingly enough at the time that this girl was being raped in Gwynfa, I was being dragged through the High Court by Sir Robert Francis QC – at the behest of psychiatrists in north Wales – who was demanding my imprisonment for ‘harassment’ because I was writing numerous letters alleging that patients were being criminally abused in the north Wales mental health services (see post ‘The Sordid Role Of Sir Robert Francis QC’).

But it transpired that there had been many other allegations of abuse by children who had been patients at Gwynfa and that by July 1993 it was clear that there was a problem with allegations of a ‘serious nature’. It was about this time that I was receiving letters from Laurie Wood, the former manager of the mental health services in Clwyd who then became Chief Exec of the Clwydian Community NHS Trust, refusing to reopen my own complaint and reassuring me that he was certain that no-one else was having the sort of experiences that I had – although of course at the same time maintaining that nobody had behaved improperly in my case at all. In July 1993 Detective Superintendent Ackerley from the North Wales Police was invited to conduct a fuller investigation into Gwynfa. That’s the North Wales Police whose officers conspired with Dr Dafydd Alun Jones to unlawfully arrest people and detain them in the North Wales Hospital – the same North Wales Police who returned children to children’s homes after they’d run away to escape the beatings and the buggery, the same North Wales Police who returned patients to Denbigh if they ran off even though they were being held there illegally. The same North Wales Police who employed Gordon Anglesea, who was abusing boys in care himself.

Waterhouse intriguingly tells us that ‘at some stage’ the NHS Trust ‘became aware’ that seven former patients had made serious allegations to the police against a member of staff who was still employed at Gwynfa, referred to only as Z. The Trust asked the police to ask the former patients who had made statements for their permission for the Trust to access the statements for internal disciplinary purposes. Only four patients gave permission. Waterhouse simply observes that because of this the NHS Trust had to investigate the matter ‘on an incomplete basis’. Ronnie doesn’t ask why the other patients had given statements to the police but wouldn’t co-operate with the Trust. Had they perhaps found themselves repeatedly up in Court after NHS staff made daft allegations about them? Ronnie tells us that the legal advice that the Trust Board received was that the available evidence was insufficient to justify Z’s dismissal. That advice would have come from the same source as the advice to repeatedly arrest me after I made serious complaint – that source being Andrew Park, the bent solicitor from the Welsh Office. Two members of staff were transferred to a day hospital. There’s a familiar pattern here – serious allegations made against a staff member, complaints mysteriously dropped or not followed up, the member of staff at the centre of the allegations transferred to work somewhere else with equally vulnerable people. Exactly what happened when I complained about the SEN Stephen Rose, employed at the North Wales Hospital, assaulting me. No investigation, but Rose relocated to Park Lane Hospital – an institution notorious for staff abusing patients. Regarding Z, it gets worse. Yet further allegations against Z were made at a later date and Z was finally suspended in July 1997. In March 1999 the CPS stated that a prosecution was not justified.

Altogether 27 people told the Waterhouse Tribunal that they had been abused at Gwynfa. 23 people complained about incidents between 1974-1987, 10 of them named Z. At the time that Ronnie submitted his Report, the police investigation into Z was continuing. Ronnie states that it would be ‘inappropriate to make any further comment’ because he had not heard any evidence from Z and Z’s ‘legal position was not clear to the Tribunal’. So even with all those lawyers, the team of paralegals and administrators from the Welsh Office and his numerous advisors, poor old Ronnie – a former High Court judge – couldn’t clarify Z’s legal position. So no more was said. Not that Ronnie had reached his zenith with this comment – he admitted that although there were allegations of sexual abuse against four members of staff, ‘they do not suggest a pattern of such abuse among staff’. His rationale for this thinking was bizarre – it was because each allegation of sexual abuse was made about a different member of staff, on a different occasion, by a different patient. Which suggests to me that there was one hell of a problem – particularly as one member of staff was already in prison for the double rape of a patient and dear old Z was at the centre of a police investigation. It’s also highly likely that there were many more allegations that no-one ever got to hear about. We learn from Ronnie’s Report that a 13 year old girl was indecently assaulted but did not report it at the time and that a 17 year old male patient was buggered in 1979/80, but that this allegation didn’t come to light until the police interviewed the complainant in 1992 – in 1993 there was a decision not to prosecute.

Ronnie didn’t just hear about sexual abuse at Gwynfa. Again and again bizarre stories – bizarre but all too believable to those of us who know how the mental health services routinely conducted themselves – were related by former patients. A boy who was described as ‘behaving disruptively’ at a private school in Llandudno was sent to Gwynfa – but he thought that he was going into hospital to have his heart investigated! Who told him this cock and bull story? And what was the nature of his ‘disruptive behaviour’ at the private school in Llandudno? Which school was it? We know that people were diverted into the mental health services if they crossed the paths of certain people or questioned abuses – is it possible that something was going on in the school in Llandudno that shouldn’t have been? This boy told Waterhouse that his year at Gwynfa had been a ‘waste of time’, that he hadn’t been helped, that the education at Gwynfa was inadequate, but he also told of two very serious assaults from male members of staff. On one occasion, a harness was made of rubber rings and he was yanked up on a door using this contraption – it was incredibly painful but he was told by the ‘nurses’ who did this to ‘take it in good spirit’. On another occasion he was dropped onto the ground outside from a first floor window. Each of these incidents was constructed as being the patient’s own fault. As every assault on a mental health patient in north Wales always is.

A girl felt so uneasy about Z that she told her (female) social worker that she didn’t like him. The social worker told her not to be silly, he was nice. The girl persisted with her concerns about Z – the social worker stated that she was ‘seeking attention’. Again this is depressingly familiar – over the last thirty years, I and others consistently raised concerns about staff who were doing things that they shouldn’t have been doing. We too were fobbed off constantly with idiocies – I lost count of the number of times that I was told that Dafydd Alun Jones had ‘helped people’, that ‘other patients like him’ or even, yes, that he was ‘nice’. He wasn’t, he was/is a fucking criminal who was abusing patients and everyone knew it. What chance did CHILDREN stuck in a residential unit for months have against staff who were groping them, raping them and throwing them out of windows? Ronnie admits that one witness at the Tribunal remembered being physically assaulted by Z – Ronnie simply states ‘we say no more about it’. Other former patients remembered being gagged with elastoplasts that were then ripped off, hit on the head with a pool cue, hung out of a window, regularly assaulted and beaten up. One witness described how a dog collar was put on him and he was led around on a lead – he was seven years old. One former patient compared Gwynfa to a prison. Which it was, but probably one with fewer safeguards.

Waterhouse details two ‘therapies’ that were used at Gwynfa. ‘Pyjama therapy’ – where the children had their clothes removed and could only wear pyjamas. (I witnessed an adult male patient subjected to this at Ysbyty Gwynedd in the early 1990s.) But Gwynfa also had ‘bed therapy’ – children’s clothes AND pyjamas were removed from them so they were forced to remain in bed. Presumably naked under the covers with a bunch of rapists ‘caring’ for them. Sexual assault therapy could well have followed.

Despite the graphic accounts of the daily abuse that so many children endured, Ronnie decided that ‘the picture we have received of conditions at Gwynfa has been incomplete’ and ‘we have not attempted to reach detailed conclusions about the regime at Gwynfa’. Ronnie does have a bit of advice concerning Gwynfa though. He notes that it was staffed by male adult psychiatric nurses with no experience of child care, so he recommended that there should be more social services involvement, with trained residential care staff being introduced and that senior staff should have qualifications in residential child care. So instead of being assaulted by a bunch of former Denbigh nurses, the children could be assaulted by the sort of children’s social care staff that the rest of Ronnie’s Report was concerned with.

It seems that the abuses at Gwynfa only came to light when in Sept 1991 a former Gwynfa patient appeared on TV and a police investigation followed. Clwyd Health Authority reacted by ordering an investigation and a report from Irene Train, who was at the time of the Waterhouse Inquiry, Divisional General Manager (North) of Clwyd’s Community and Mental Health Unit. Irene featured in a previous blog post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’. In 1990 after Stephen Norris the Officer in Charge of a children’s home called Cartrefle had been convicted of sexual assault, the ACPC (Area Children’s Protection Committee) was asked to conduct a review. Irene Train was Vice-Chair – and then Chair – of the ACPC. She was at that time Director of Public Health Nursing in Clwyd Health Authority. So Irene was someone else who was in a very senior position, was very well-networked and even Chaired the ACPC – who was just so taken aback by all the allegations of violence and rape that emerged after people started appearing on TV and in the press. Irene presented ‘written evidence’ to the Tribunal informing Ronnie that: there was now ‘confidential free telephone facilities for patients to obtain individual counselling’; the development of child advocacy services; and that patients were informed of their right to have their complaints dealt with by the Chief Exec and a right of appeal to a non-executive director of the NHS Trust. Right – there is no confidentiality in the north Wales mental health services, the entire system works on gossip and rumour; hardly any of the ‘counsellors’ employed know anything about counselling, nearly all of them have been ‘trained’ by the same lame abusive idiots that have spawned the disaster in the first place; the ‘advocacy’ services positively ensure that no competent ‘advocate’ is ever employed and most of the ‘advocates’ are ‘service users’ themselves who are dependent upon the system and far too frightened to challenge it; the Chief Exec was Laurie Wood, who was ultimately responsible for the abusive services and who was very much part of the problem; a non-executive director of the NHS Trust will not step on anyone’s toes. So I really don’t think that Irene Train’s bright ideas were ever going to stop any future patients being abused.

So the children at Gwynfa were raped and assaulted and as with the children in care I expect that many – if not most of them – will be dead by now. What of those responsible for the ‘service’? Such as Dr Barry Kiehn, the child psychiatrist specifically responsible for the ‘therapeutic community’ that was Gwynfa? Barry Kiehn is now retired and living the life of Riley. His twitter feed informs us that he lives in Colwyn Bay (as so many featured in the wrongdoing detailed on this blog do) and he enjoys opera, classical music, ballet, art, ceramics, travel, languages, science and singing. How did such a cultured man stand by whilst his young patients were sexually assaulted and battered by a bunch of ageing thugs who had been transferred from the North Wales Hospital Denbigh? What about Irene, the most senior nurse responsible for those thugs? Irene is now retired but she keeps busy. In 2003-2004 she was Secretary for St David’s Promotions Ltd – that’s the fundraising bit of St David’s Hospice. The St David’s Hospice in Llandudno that gave the former manager of the Hergest Unit Alun Davies a job as Chief Exec after his corruption and mismanagement left the Hergest Unit a heap of smouldering rubble; the St David’s Hospice who, once Davies finally went, gave the dreadful Trystan Pritchard a job as Chief Exec – the Trystan who was responsible for lies, deceit and mismanagement when he worked at Ysbyty Gwynedd, the Trystan with Masonic connections who was on excellent terms with the regime of managers previously employed by the North West Wales NHS Trust. Please see post ‘The CEOs Of St David’s Hospice’ for more information. In 2006 however, Irene Train turned up as a company director, along with a Howard Geoffrey Train and a number of other people with the surname ‘Train’, of an outfit called H Domestic Agency Ltd. H Domestic Agency’s address is 99 Blimco Grove, Cambridge, should anyone wish to contact Irene and ask her a few questions about her glorious career in Clwyd. As for Nigel Mannering Berry, the pig who was ‘Principal Nursing Officer’ at Gwynfa, who oversaw the brutality and the abuse after gaining so much ‘experience’ at Denbigh – well he lives in Colwyn Bay as well. Specifically at 40 Yerburgh Avenue, Colwyn Bay, LL29 7NB. But guess what? Between 1993-94 Nigel was a Director of Colwyn Bay Masonic Hall! Ah, the Masons that never provided any sort of protective network at all for anyone involved in the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal – we know that because Ronnie confirmed in his Report that there was no evidence of Masonic links and so did Stephen Crabb, who was Secretary of State for Wales when the cover-up that covered up Ronnie’s cover-up, ie. the Macur Review, was published. I invite Ronnie and Stephen Crabb to do what I’ve just done, google Nigel Mannering Berry and read that very long list of names that are associated with the Colwyn Bay Masonic Hall – and that’s just the Colwyn Bay contingent. And if they’ve got time Ronnie and Stephen can google dear old Mrs Train and her former associates at St David’s Hospice – they’re all there, the elderly negligent fuckwits from yesteryear who brought the north Wales NHS to it’s knees.

There is of course one elderly negligent fuckwit who was in a senior management role with the Clwyd mental health services whilst horrors were being perpetuated at Gwynfa who has not yet been put out to grass. That is Dr Peter Higson, the current Chairman of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. Let me remind you Higson: a 16 year old girl with depression raped twice; a 17 year old boy buggered; a seven year old boy fitted with a dog collar and led around on a lead; children dropped out of windows; hit with pool cues; regularly assaulted and beaten.

Waterhouse makes an passing observation regarding Gwynfa that I find telling. That most of the patients there were actually from Gwynedd – and that Barry Kiehn was categorised as a child psychiatrist employed by Gwynedd Health Authority. So it was those fine upstanding Top Doctors from Gwynedd who were referring children to a ‘hospital’ where they were beaten and raped.

Do all these people not owe the world an explanation? Or am I just being silly because they’re nice?

 

 

 

‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’

For those of you who don’t speak Welsh, the title of this blog post translates as ‘The Truth Against The World’. It was the motto of Baron Williams of Mostyn, who, before he was ennobled and acquired a coat of arms on the recommendation of that other esteemed Welsh peer, one Lord Kinnock (he who never won an election but did his best to destroy Jeremy Corbyn on the grounds that Jeremy wouldn’t be able to win an election), was Gareth Wyn Williams who hailed from Prestatyn and attended Rhyl Grammar School. Lord Mostyn is described in his wiki entry as a Welsh barrister and Labour politician. He became a Deputy High Court judge and was part of the Chester and Wales Circuit, like so many named on this blog. Lord Mostyn was Leader of the Circuit between 1987-1989 and was made a life peer in July 1992. He died suddenly in 2003.

Lord Mostyn gained a lot of media coverage in Dec 1994. That was because he was the barrister who acted for the former North Wales Police officer Superintendent Gordon Anglesea when Anglesea sued the ‘Independent On Sunday’, the ‘Observer’, ‘Private Eye’ and HTV for libel, after they accused him of abusing children in care in north Wales children’s homes. (Gordon Anglesea died in prison last year, a few months after being sentenced for abusing children in care in north Wales.) The Police Federation underwrote Anglesea’s legal costs for the libel action. The jury found in favour of Anglesea by a majority of a 10:2 and Anglesea received £375,000 damages.

The articles that Anglesea sued over were published in Dec 1991 (‘Independent On Sunday’), Sept 1992 (‘Observer’) and Jan 1993 (‘Private Eye’). The HTV ‘Wales This Week’ programme concerned was broadcast in Sept 1992. The two former residents of children’s home Bryn Estyn who accused Anglesea of abusing them on HTV, Mark Humphreys and Steven Messham, were seen by another former Bryn Estyn resident, Carl Holden, as he was watching the programme at home. Carl Holden then rang the BBC and told them that Anglesea had abused him. The ‘Private Eye’ article alleged that Anglesea had investigated claims against the son of Lord Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon – the article in the ‘Eye’ picked up on Lord Tyrell-Kenyon being a member of the North Wales Police Authority as well as being the Grand Master of the North Wales Province of Freemasonry. Gordon Anglesea was a freemason.

Lord Tyrell-Kenyon however had many other links to people and to institutions that were involved with concealing child abuse in north Wales. He was a member of the House of Lords, he was the Chairman of Clwyd Health Authority between 1974-1978 and he was President of UCNW (later Bangor University) between 1947-1982. (He preceded Sir William Mars-Jones as President of UCNW – please see post ‘A Big Umbrella’.) So he’ll have known Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr T. Gwynne Williams – who banged up the victims of the paedophile ring in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh! Lord Tyrell-Kenyon was also a Flintshire Councillor and had been Deputy Lieutenant of Flintshire. He will almost certainly have known Sir Ronald Waterhouse as well as Dafydd and Gwynne. Furthermore he was a magistrate. Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon was numerous other things as well, including a Director of Lloyds Bank and, between 1952-1957, the President of the National Library of Wales. This man will have been phenomenally influential in mid-twentieth century rural north Wales. (The London-based press have always made much of the alleged masonic connections at play in the concealing of the North Wales Child Abuse scandal, but as this blog has shown there were other powerful networks involved as well.) Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon died in 1993 and a wonderfully toadying obituary was published in the ‘Independent’, written by a Nicolas Baker. It praises Tyrell-Kenyon’s achievements in securing ‘the improvement of agriculture and the health service in Wales’ – what on earth did he do to make the health service so good, employ Dafydd and Gwynne? (I’m intrigued by the mention of agriculture as well. As detailed on my post ‘Not Seen Since The 80s – Carwyn’, UCNW used to have a truly appalling agriculture dept headed by a very vindictive unpopular man called J.B. Owen. I was told that J.B. Owen’s family founded that dept which was why he was given a Chair, although even the undergrads could see that this was a completely inappropriate appointment. Much more worryingly, Mary Wynch, the woman whom Dafydd illegally imprisoned for a year (please see post ‘The Mary Wynch Case – Details’), worked as a secretary in that dept. Mary became famous as a result of her battle with Dafydd et al, yet not one of her former colleagues uttered a word in sympathy let alone in her defence. I would love to know what was going on when Mary was employed in the agriculture dept.) Tyrell-Kenyon’s obituary waxes lyrical about his ‘troubles, which seemed to come to him unfairly often. He bore them without complaint…his cheerful smile never weakened….an end to a truly useful life, one spent doing good without seeking for a reward. The support that he gave will be remembered with gratitude by the many friends he made in giving it’. Which rather sounds as though he often ended up in the shit, but he had mates everywhere, mutual favours were being exchanged and he was one of the people running north Wales. I presume that the son of Tyrell-Kenyon’s who was referred to in the ‘Eye’ article will have been Thomas Tyrell-Kenyon. I don’t know which incident that article referred to, but in July 1979, Thomas Tyrell-Kenyon woke up in the Crest Hotel in Wrexham to find his property and clothes stolen – by the young man that he had been having sex with the previous night. That young man was two years below the legal age of consent at the time and was supposedly in the care of the Local Authority. (He later gave evidence to the Waterhouse Inquiry that Thomas ‘had used him for sex on numerous occasions’.) Tyrell-Kenyon reported the theft to the police and was quite frank about the reason why the boy had been sharing a room with him. The boy had also allegedly stolen some explicit Polaroid photos of them together, which were never recovered. The boy’s social worker recorded that the police were well aware of ‘homosexual activities’ between him and Tyrell-Kenyon. The boy was sent to a Detention Centre. Tyrell-Kenyon was never charged. Tyrell-Kenyon died of AIDS in 1993 when he was 37.

At the libel trial, Lord Williams made much of the ‘inconsistencies’ in the witnesses accounts. For example one of the former Bryn Estyn residents had made an early denial in a police interview that he’d been abused by Anglesea – although it would seem fairly obvious that it wouldn’t be that easy for one man to tell another man, who happened to be a police officer, that he had been repeatedly molested by one of the officer’s former colleagues. Lord Williams also made much of one of the witnesses having problems with drink and drugs. Williams might have been surprised to know that drink and drug problems were a regular outcome of those who grew up in care in north Wales, as was early death in suspicious circumstances. It doesn’t make them liars. One witness found giving evidence so stressful that he was prescribed tranquillisers during the trial. Not that they did the trick – he subsequently collapsed in the dock and proceedings had to be halted in order for him to receive medical treatment. Which just shows how easy it was for those three to stand up there and tell a pack of lies about Anglesea…

Part of Anglesea’s defence was that he was not a visitor to Bryn Estyn during the time that some of the offences were alleged to have happened. Yet Ian Kelman, a retired police Inspector who served in Wrexham at the same time as Anglesea, made a statement in which he claimed to have seen Anglesea at Bryn Estyn on at least two occasions during the years when Anglesea denied visiting the home. Yet Kelman didn’t give evidence at the trial – he told the Wales-based investigative journalist Paddy French’s Rebecca Television that he was ‘suffering from severe mental depression’ at the time. So his statement went unexamined. (Neither was Ian Kelman invited to give evidence at the Waterhouse Inquiry.)

I don’t know how confident Gareth Williams was that his client would win, because Williams was facing a most formidable adversary acting on behalf of those that Anglesea was suing – George Carman QC. Carman has featured on this blog before. George Carman was not used to losing cases, yet he lost this one, to a barrister that did not have half the reputation that Carman had. The judge who presided over the trial, Sir Maurice Drake, spoke about the trial later in his life as being a particularly memorable one. Drake had caused a bit of a stir himself at the beginning of the trial by confirming that like Anglesea, he was a freemason, but no-one raised an objection so no worries there then. Drake joined the Justinian lodge in 1948 and for approximately 20 years was President of the Masonic Court of Appeal. At the time of Anglesea’s trial, which was heard by a jury, Drake was the judge in charge of the jury list. He had a long pedigree where presiding over libel trials was concerned and sometimes rather surprising things happened when Maurice Drake was around. He presided over the trial between the MP Rupert Allason and Alistair Campbell, dismissing Allason’s claim yet stating ‘I did not find Mr Campbell by any means a wholly satisfactory or convincing witness’. Drake also presided when the ‘Eastenders’ actress Gillian Taylforth sued the ‘Sun’ for libel and lost. On that occasion George Carman was acting for the ‘Sun’ and Drake gave him permission to screen  what was euphemistically termed a ‘controversial’ video starring a German sausage. If I remember correctly, this was the video in which Taylforth featured at a knees up with the other actors from Eastenders, very drunk, simulating sex with the aforementioned sausage (but fully clothed). It wasn’t very different to what a lot of people have done when drunk at some point in their lives, but it lost her the case. She collapsed in Court as well and was filmed being stretchered out into a waiting ambulance with an oxygen mask over her face. It was obviously a hoot in Drake’s Court with witnesses on the losing side collapsing all over the place.

Drake remembered that Gareth Williams ‘outshone’ George Carman, although Carman ‘displayed all his usual skills’. Drake stated that in his view ‘the evidence was finely balanced’ and that his summing up was ‘absolutely free of any indication of what I felt the verdict should be’ and that he ‘would not have been surprised’ if the jury had found for the defendants. Drake attributed Anglesea’s success to, would you believe, the love of a good woman: ‘I believe that it was the evidence of Mrs Anglesea which tipped the scales…many jurors would find it difficult to believe that a married man could have a full sexual relationship with his wife at the same time as he was committing buggery’. Not only was it not in Mrs Anglesea’s interests to stand up in court and admit that the man to whom she was married – and probably financially dependent upon – was a child molester, but Sir Maurice Drake obviously had some quaint ideas about child molesters. They do have ‘normal sexual relationships’ with wives and indeed all sorts of women whilst they are molesting children. Had this trial not resulted in a sex offender becoming nearly £400,000 richer, Drake’s comments would be a source of great entertainment. They bring to mind the summing up of the judge who presided over the trial of Jeffrey Archer when he made statement about Mary Archer being so ‘fragrant’ that no way would Jeffrey have been shagging a prostitute in ‘a green leatherette suit’. Jeffrey did of course go to prison for perjury some years after this and the unfortunate prostitute was killed in a car crash, a crash that was ‘not suspicious at all’, days before the trial at which Archer was eventually convicted had been scheduled to begin. Archer is a national joke, but the fragrant one continues to move in guilded circles and is particularly big in NHS England. She was made a Dame on the basis of her contribution to the NHS. Monica Coughlan, the prostitute who was so unfavourably compared with the Lady/Dame of Addenbrookes Hospital, was on record before she was killed as stating that Jeffrey Archer had completely ruined her life. One would have thought that judges would have stopped waxing lyrical about the attributes of criminal’s wives after Peter Cooke’s highly effective parody of the summing up at the trial of Jeremy Thorpe, in which he ‘pays tribute to Mr Thrope’s wife Miriam, who has stood by him throughout this long and unnecessary ordeal’. As for Sandra Anglesea, she must be the merriest widow in north Wales now – not only is she in receipt of 50% of a police pension thanks to an ‘oversight’ on the part of Arfon Jones, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, but her child abusing husband is dead.

There was something that neither the defendants nor even Sir Maurice Drake knew about at the time of Anglesea’s libel trial. That was that Gordon Anglesea was investigated by the North Wales Police when Detective Superintendent Ackerley led the investigation into child abuse in north Wales children’s in the early 1990s and that Ackerley sent a report to the CPS recommending that Anglesea should be charged. The CPS did not do this and no-one even knew that the recommendation had been made until years later.

Some two months after giving evidence against Gordon Anglesea at the libel trial, Mark Humphreys was found hanging from railings in the block of flats where he lived. Anglesea’s former colleagues in the North Wales Police declared it not to be a suspicious death. Three months later, Simon Birley, another former resident of Bryn Estyn, was found hanging from a tree. The previous year Simon had given evidence against Peter Howarth, an employee of Bryn Estyn, who was imprisoned for abusing the boys in his care. It was alleged at various trials that Anglesea knew Howarth. Anglesea denied this. Simon’s death was ‘not suspicious’ either.

As for dear old Lord Gareth Williams, in 1999 he was appointed Attorney General and remained in that post until 2001! He succeeded Lord Morris of Aberavon – another star of previous blog posts – and after an interlude by Lord Goldsmith our old friend Lady Patricia Scotland QC became Attorney General.

One day soon I really must carry out a statistical analysis of members of the House of Lords since 1970 and calculate the % of those who have been involved in concealing organised child abuse. Until then I’ll just remember Gareth’s motto…