Little Things Hitting Each Other

In my post ‘Compare And Contrast – The Case Of Two Doctors And The General Medical Council’, I discussed the disciplining of Dr Ann Dally by the GMC for prescribing controlled drugs to addicts in the 1980s. I noted that Dally had been vigorously pursued by the GMC for doing exactly what Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was known to be doing (see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’), except that Dafydd was facilitating the Westminster Paedophile Ring as well, which afforded him considerable protection from the authorities. I wondered who had been so keen to nail Dally and why even her connections to the Royals – her husband Dr Peter Dally had attended Princess Margaret at the behest of Lord Snowdon – hadn’t been enough to keep her out of trouble. In that post I stated that I would read the book that Ann Dally wrote about it all to see if I could work out what was going on.

I have now read Ann’s book, ‘A Doctor’s Story’, which she finished writing in the late 1980s. I think that I have worked out what was going on and it’s gobsmacking, as are the activities of some of the people involved in the drama.

Ann Dally wrote convincingly about the problems that drug addicts faced when trying to gain treatment, either for their addiction or anything else. She stated bluntly that doctors hated addicts, that psychiatrists usually refused to treat them and that in the 1980s some GPs surgeries even had notices up stating that they would not treat addicts. She stated that psychiatrists took the view that addicts should be disposed of within the prison system and that if a female addict became pregnant social services usually removed their child as a matter of routine. All this is true. I heard these opinions of addicts being openly articulated by people when I worked in the London medical schools in the late 1980s/90s. I was told by a number of people working in the NHS in north Wales that the reason why Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was given the remit for treating all the addicts in the region was that the other psychiatrists all refused to treat them.

However I also knew from my friendship with a man who had been a drug abuser himself that addicts will speak highly of any doctor who gives them drugs – they do not care about anything else other than securing the drugs. This is not merely my interpretation of what I saw, the former drug user told me this himself. I also witnessed him tell one of the nurses at the Hergest Unit this everyday story of drug using folk. Both this man and I were objecting to Dafydd Alun Jones being allowed into the Hergest Unit in the face of so many allegations of his serious misconduct and in the wake of the serious complaints that I had made about him going completely uninvestigated. The nurse tried to defend the Hergest Unit by saying ‘those patients want to see him, they like him’, to which my friend responded ‘of course they like him, he gives them drugs and I should know because I used to be like that myself’. Both I and this man heard addicts openly boasting that Dafydd was great because ‘he’ll give you anything you want’.

The medical treatment of addicts became a hot potato in the 1980s. There had been an ideological change driven by a very influential, indeed overtly powerful part of the medical establishment. Until the mid-1970s, Drug Dependency Units (DDUs) in NHS hospitals prescribed maintenance therapy for addicts – in other words opiate substitutes such as methadone were prescribed without ever asking the addict to withdraw. The addicts were given repeat prescriptions for the same (sometimes high) dose for as long as they requested it. Prescribing was often very generous and cocktails involving stimulants and depressants were frequently prescribed. Addicts could also be prescribed heroin and cocaine if the doctor saw fit to do so. A lot of addicts – and doctors like Ann Dally – argued that this was by far the best approach, that the actual drug itself did little harm and that the real problems were caused by what addicts did to get the drugs if they couldn’t receive them on prescription. It was established that addicts turned to crime to acquire the money to buy drugs, that they lived in terrible conditions because their time and money was spent in pursuit of drugs and nothing else, that they acquired blood borne infections through sharing needles with other people and that their lives descended into chaos. Dally et al argued that addicts could actually live productive lives that were indistinguishable from non-addicts if they were prescribed maintenance drugs. There was evidence that for some addicts this was true.  From the latter half of the 1970s, there was great pressure from certain parts of the medical establishment on NHS DDUs not to provide maintenance doses, but to instead make it a condition of treatment that addicts must withdraw – quite quickly as well – and become completely drug-free. Eventually very few DDUs would actually provide maintenance therapy, so in the 1980s an increasing number of addicts began seeking out doctors in private practice who would prescribe maintenance therapy – obviously this was a service that addicts had to pay for. It hadn’t previously been an issue because when NHS clinics had prescribed freely and generously, addicts had less to gain by going to a private practice.

Ann Dally alleged that the driver for the refusal to prescribe maintenance therapy was coming from the ‘Maudsley Mafia’, a small group of psychiatrists in teaching hospitals like the Maudsley who were incredibly powerful. Why they wanted to push through this change to clinical practice is open to debate. Work published since that time states that very little was actually known about drug dependence and how to treat it, even by the specialist NHS DDUs, so people were just floundering about in the dark. Dr Thomas Bewley, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and allegedly a drug dependency expert, was to say later that ‘no-one had the faintest idea of what they were doing and were all expected to solve the problem of drug dependence’. There seems to have been a lot of truth in this confession.

It has been widely speculated that the change in clinical practice resulted from Margaret Thatcher’s administrations doing as they were asked by the US administrations at that time, when the Reagan and later Bush were holding their much publicised ‘War On Drugs’. Thatcher was so keen to maintain the ‘special relationship’ that she simply went along with US policy. Whatever the reason, by the mid-80s there was very great pressure on the private doctors who had been prescribing maintenance therapy not to do so anymore, so doctors who did prescribe found themselves greatly in demand. Something though was not working, because by the mid-80s, drug use was increasing greatly, even in provincial areas like north Wales. The advent of HIV-AIDS increased the problems of intravenous drug-users and provided an extra layer of complexity.

Until 2007, the Drugs Branch in the Home Office were responsible for monitoring controlled drugs and Home Office Drugs Inspectors visited doctors prescribing controlled drugs at least once every two years. If doctors were thought to be prescribing irresponsibly, under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1967) they could find themselves called by the Home Office before a Tribunal, which could remove their powers to prescribe controlled drugs. They could then be referred to the GMC – although this rarely happened. Doctors wanting to prescribe certain drugs needed a Home Office licence.

I remember the growing problem of drug use in north Wales at the time. In 1984 the corrupt GP Dr D.G.E. Wood – who was concealing the wrongdoing of Dafydd et al – told me that ‘heroin is now a local problem’. Dafydd himself was appearing at public meetings dispensing his wisdom concerning the problem and there was much ranting in the local newspapers and on Welsh TV. In north Wales a lot of people got very excited and did not seem to be able to distinguish occasional cannabis users from heroin and cocaine addicts. Just to confuse matters, it became clear that there was a big problem with police corruption, especially in drug squads. I witnessed a bit of this in north Wales – the corrupt officers were busy pursuing students and hippies and if necessary planting drugs on them, whilst organised criminals involved in importing and distributing drugs were left to carry on doing business. I knew that the same thing was happening in the west country and in Manchester and it will no doubt have been happening in London. What I knew about in Bangor though was poor people taking drugs – people on the council estates in Caernarfon, Bangor or Holyhead, or in rural locations such as Anglesey.

Ann Dally’s patients were rather different. Ann and Peter Dally were society doctors. They both came from privileged families themselves and trained at St Thomas’s, which is considered to be the medical school of the privileged classes. Ann Dally’s own account explains that they were both completely committed to the NHS – they qualified very soon after the establishment of the NHS – and never expected to move into private practice. As a young doctor Peter Dally worked as a psychiatrist under the dreadful Dr William Sargant at St Thomas’s and built up his private practice when Sargant went away for a few months and Peter Dally took over his patients for him. Sargant returned, but Dally found himself in such demand that he began renting consulting room space in the same building as Sargant. Dally was a consultant at Westminster Hospital as well, but eventually found that he didn’t have time to do both the NHS work at Westminster and his private work, so he gave up the NHS work. Ann Dally had a lot of children and began her family soon after qualifying, so she worked in Family Planning clinics and did work with women and children, because that fitted around her family. She moved into private work through ‘helping Peter’ with his practice.

Ann Dally writes very convincingly as a compassionate doctor who is angered by suffering and injustice. There are inconsistencies though. Although at one point she mentions that she only ever went into private work because the NHS did not reach up to the idealistic expectations that she had of it, she maintains that she rarely met anyone working in the NHS who was cruel to patients or malicious and that no-one working in the NHS was judgemental. Dally’s story is that EVERYONE was working for the benefit of the patients, even if they had their foibles or clashed with their colleagues. Yet she provides first hand anecdotes of appalling practice. As a very junior doctor working in obstetrics, she has a patient in labour whose condition is such that she will die if a caesarean is performed – although there is concern about the baby. Dally is faced with a senior registrar who is a devout Roman Catholic and wants to perform the caesarean to save the baby, although he knows this will kill the mother. Dally is so horrified that she goes to seek help from a higher authority and gets a grade A bollocking for having brought the unfortunate views of the senior registrar into the light of day – although everyone knew that he was about to kill a patient. A fudge is undertaken, the senior registrar is persuaded to go elsewhere for a few hours whilst someone takes over the care of the woman in labour, preventing a murder. It is made clear to Dally that much embarrassment has been caused and that she must never interfere in such a manner again. Again and again Dally recounts tales of patients being treated appallingly, of psychiatry having such a poor reputation that good medical graduates run away from it screaming, of mad incompetent sadistic psychiatrists who have no idea of what they are doing, of ‘research’ in psychiatry that was laughable and of realising that if she is looking after someone with psychiatric problems she needs to do her best to ensure that they aren’t ever admitted to a mental hospital (particularly Tooting Bec). As for never meeting anyone malicious working in the NHS – she witnesses a young woman who had taken an overdose being deliberately sent to the back of the queue in casualty by the nurse on duty ‘to teach her a lesson’. The delay in treatment is such that the young woman dies. Documentation is then altered to conceal the delay in treatment. The coroner knows what happened but he colludes and asks no questions.

Dally maintains that when she was working in obstetrics and gynaecology, most beds were taken by women who were in need of treatment following illegal abortions. I have been told this by others who worked in the NHS in the 1950s, it’s one reason why so many staff welcomed the 1967 Abortion Act. However Dally admits to something that I have never heard or indeed read before. That at St Thomas’s there were at least two consultants openly performing illegal abortions – and a lot of them. Dally knew all about it because she assisted them – because they had identified her as a junior doctor who would agree to help them with this task. Dally must presume that her readers are complete ignoramuses – she breezily explained that they were not breaking the law. They were. I understand what the law was at that time and Dally and her colleagues were breaking it in a very big way. Dally also mentions a Professor Dugald Baird who performed abortions on ‘any women who didn’t want to have babies’, stating that this was legal. No, it was not. I am very glad that the law changed and I can understand the sympathy that Dally and her colleagues had for those women with unwanted pregnancies, but that lot were completely flouting the law and they will have known it. So who was Professor Dugald Baird? He was one of the most ‘distinguished’ names in obstetrics and gynaecology at the time and had a Chair at the University of Aberdeen. He was a pioneer in Family Planning Clinics. His son Professor David Tennant Baird was instrumental in gaining approval for the ‘morning after pill’ RU-486 to be made available in the UK. Dugald Baird’s other son, D. Euan Baird, before he retired in 2003 was Chair and CEO of Schlumberger, the biggest oilfields service company in the world. Ann would probably describe it as a wind farm. The Baird Family Hospital in Aberdeen, named after Dugald and his clan, is due to open in 2020.

So Ann was capable of bending the rules, reassuring everyone that she was not, denying some real horrors which led to disastrous results for patients and giving a good impression throughout all this that she was a radical, caring doctor who only had the best interests of her patients at heart.

Ann Dally became famous for her clashes with the GMC over her prescribing for addicts, but there’s a few lines in the book that point to a other problems as well. Dally did a great deal of work in what she calls ‘medical journalism’ and ordinary ‘journalism’ when she was young to earn money. She stresses that she was always very careful never to accept patients who had contacted her on the basis of articles of hers that they had read, because that would contravene the GMC rules on advertising. So if they did contact her, she sent them off back to their GP – who then referred them to her anyway. OK, I can see how that could be constructed as adhering to the rules, but as a youngish doctor Ann was investigated when an article that she wrote turned up in a porn magazine no less. Ann’s story was that someone had sold an article on gynaecology ‘behind her back’. So what the hell was in that article? I have read numerous books and articles on obstetrics and gynaecology and they really are not written in the style or indeed in the language that a reader of a porn magazine would be interested in or in which most of them would even understand. Particularly articles dating from the 1960s. Even work by the likes of Masters and Johnson which was considered explicit and most controversial would have had difficulty appealing to soft pornographers. Ann doesn’t explain in her book how she ended up being investigated – she only mentions it because when she first trots off to get advice re the charges of irresponsible prescribing, one of the legal advisors from the MDU remembers her from twenty years previously, from the case with the porn mag.

So after witnessing no-one ever misbehaving themselves in the NHS, Ann and Peter went into private practice in the early 1960s. They began by practicing from their family home in Dulwich – it was only some years later that they purchased a lease on a building in one of the most prestigious locations in Harley Street. But business booms at Dulwich. Ann mentions that Peter has some very ‘grand’ patients. Although they are running an extensive private practice they do not have a secretary or ‘anything official’. The children are taught how to answer the phone and the kids are also told that if they do answer the phone and it’s someone who says they are ringing from Buckingham Palace, the children must not think it’s a joke because it will be someone ringing from Buckingham Palace. Ann mentions that one does not charge a fee when one treats Royalty, one has to be available at any time of the day or night and one must treat them in secret. Ann finds treating the Royals a bit of a pain, but it does wonders for one’s reputation. As well as the Royal Family, Ann mentions that their patients included holders of accounts at Coutts, aristocrats, heirs to famous family fortunes, City brokers, property developers, writers, musicians, senior people from the BBC, journalists, solicitors, pop stars and civil servants and the families of these people. She mentions that they have international patients including many Arabs, and have treated the children of some of the wealthiest and most publicised people. One of her patients was a princess from a Gulf state and Ann goes to visit her at the Wellington Hospital. A suite of rooms has been booked for relatives, ladies-in-waiting and servants – as well as a group of ‘pubescent girls’ dressed identically, whom the translator explains to Ann are ‘slave girls from Nubia’. Ann observes that she’s never met slaves before. One of Ann’s patients was a Cabinet Minister who was ‘raving mad and almost naked, chasing his boyfriend around the clinic’. Ann was called to attend another patient who was a fraudster who ‘went mad’ in an hotel whilst developing up a huge scam – another psychiatrist who was initially called to deal with him had tried to become a partner in the scam. It was left to Ann to save the day. She remarks drily that the GMC never got to hear about this. So she didn’t report any of it then.

The most worry anecdote regarding the Dallys’ interesting patients though is one about a retired Army officer. He had consulted Peter Dally after he had amputated his own leg at the knee and couldn’t explain why he had done this. An ’eminent psychiatrist’ had paid them all a visit at the Dallys’ place but no-one could find anything wrong with the retired officer. With Peter’s therapeutic skills though, they eventually got to the truth. The retired officer ‘had a fantasy’ that his mission in life was to model artificial limbs and have sexual relationships with amputees. As he was now getting on in years, he felt that it was time to ‘put his fantasy into practice’. Police had found literature from artificial limb suppliers in his house and they had founds stacks of anatomy and surgery textbooks which contained detailed instructions on how to perform amputations. The Dallys’ noticed that their patient had made a very good job of his own amputation.

I think that I know what had been going on and it wasn’t what the Dallys’ claimed. Amputating limbs is a highly skilled business, one needs to be shown how to do it, one needs to practice and one needs the right drugs and equipment. Diagrams in surgery books, even the best ones, don’t look anything like the unholy mess that one is faced with if one cuts oneself open. You need to learn from someone who already knows and you need to learn how to interpret surgery manuals as well. That retired officer had operated previously, probably quite often. And someone trained in surgery had taught him. He almost certainly had an amputee fetish – I can’t remember the word for the syndrome now, but it is recognised – and he had been amputating other people’s limbs as well as his own in order to have sex with them. And he was obviously supplying the prosthetics as well. The Dallys had discovered a very worrying situation there. Not that there is a word about how they resolved it, let alone who taught the retired officer to operate or who supplied him with the drugs etc necessary. It’s just written up as an example of ‘people do the funniest things’.

Ann and Peter are acutely aware of how discreet they must be when they are dealing with very rich law breaking patients, particularly those who are famous or in public life. Ann explains that a psychiatric diagnosis must be avoided at all costs and freely admits that lies are told and elaborate pantomimes are set up with other Top Doctors and hospitals. Ann explains that a statement is sent out to the press explaining that the person concerned is going into hospital for medical or surgical problem – heart, kidney or whatever – and a surgeon or physician is sent in through the front door of the hospital to have a few words with the reporters, whilst the psychiatrist goes in through the back entrance.

So the Dallys must have had a reputation as being pretty useful if you were filthy rich and either up to something embarrassing or unlawful. No wonder their practice was so popular.

Not only would you have needed much dosh to have afforded to consult Ann Dally if you were a drug addict, but you would have needed to prove it. Ann didn’t treat plebs. Or people who looked dirty or unkempt or anyone rude or aggressive or even anyone that her secretaries (by the time that she was treating addicts she was employing secretaries) ‘didn’t like’. She asked for income tax returns and pay slips to show that you could afford to pay. Not only did you have to pay Ann (she helpfully details her prices for prescriptions in the book), but you had to pay the chemist too. Furthermore, if you were a patient of Ann’s you had to only go to one of the chemists that was on the list that she gave you, for some reason you couldn’t just go to any old chemist – although that would have been quite legal. Ann states that she very much prefers working with intelligent patients and that she didn’t treat anyone who was psychotic because treating such patients caused her so much anxiety. They also need looking after and can’t just be sent out of the door with a prescription.

If you had the money to pay – and of course the money for designer clothes so people who were very obviously addicts popping in to pick up their scripts didn’t actually look as though they were – Ann certainly provided a good service. She got the social services off your back if you were a parent who was in danger of having your kids removed and she undertook medico-legal work as well, having a ‘moral obligation’ to go to Court ‘for a patient who needed my help’. Ann would even turn up to a Court case the very next day if necessary – presumably if the Royal had been arrested and had found themselves in the cells waiting to appear before the Magistrates for the first hearing – and she’d cancel everything and if necessary travel many miles if the Court case was outside of London. Ann also doubled up as Santa – she kept a drawer full of gifts for older children who were visiting the dealer with their parents and the children were allowed to choose a gift on every visit. Ann observed that it made her very popular with the children. So they’d obviously say the right thing to the social services or the judge.

Truly a Dafydd for the upper classes and rich and famous!

Ann does tell the truth at times in her book re drug addiction – again, it’s when she describes some of the grim practices of the NHS drug clinics. She relates that the ‘detoxing’ that the clinics forced on people was no more than a box-ticking exercise, that drugs were freely available in these clinics on the black market, that addicts took them and that the staff knew about this but nothing was said as long as the patients weren’t caught doing it. The clinics wanted to pretend that the patients were detoxing successfully because the clinic would then boast of their success, the patients went along with the charade because they had often been sent to the clinic as an alternative to prison and although the care provided by the clinics was very poor and neglect was the order of the day, the patients preferred being in hospital to prison. The patients would then be discharged as ‘drug free’ no matter what sort of state they were in. Some of the UK’s ‘leading authorities’ in drug dependency presided over clinics like this.

This description of Dally’s pretty much equates to everything that I ever heard about Dafydd’s ‘drug unit’ at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh.

So although Dally was no doubt quite correct in her descriptions of the loathing that nearly all doctors had for addicts and the very poor ‘care’ that they received from the few psychiatrists who would agree to treat them, there was something about her practices that caused the GMC to haul her up before them three times over a period of a few years, whereas they nearly always left it to the Home Office alone to deal with ‘irresponsible prescribing’. I have mentioned that Dally attributed her problems to a group of powerful doctors in the medical establishment who really had it in for her, although their own clinics were very mediocre, corners were cut and rules and laws were flouted. Dally was definitely clashing with certain Top Doctors, although some of them were so obnoxious it would be difficult not to clash with them. She did have a lot of support though – from a number of other high profile Top Doctors and from swathes of the liberal media who really did take the view that she had been wronged. At the time there was acres written about her case along with the cases of Dr Wendy Savage and Dr Marietta Higgs, who also clashed with the higher echelons of the medical establishment in the mid 80s.

The common theme was that these were three ‘powerful women doctors’ and the misogynist old gits who ran medicine just couldn’t bear strong wimmin, so the boys’ club went after them. I believe that this is a misreading. The cases of these three women were all completely different – although Wendy Savage and Ann Dally supported each other and were quite friendly. (Wendy Savage wrote the foreword to Ann’s book.) The lay press interpreted the Savage case as Mrs Savage being a female, feminist, Labour Party supporting Top Doctor who was encouraging childbirth with less medical intervention than most of the allegedly Tory hi-tech birth supporting male colleagues surrounding her. But there were plenty of Top Doctors who weren’t Tories, plenty of ones with an interest in low-intervention births and even a few who liked to think of themselves as feminists. And lots of younger female obstetricians were in training. It was common knowledge in London that Wendy Savage and the Professor of her department hated each other, had done so for a very long time and a civil war had broken out. He saw his chance and put the boot in and tried to get rid of her. Dr Marietta Higgs had caused havoc in Cleveland for the local hospital by removing hundreds of children from their parents on the grounds that she believed that they had been anally raped. She had so many kids taken into care that foster homes couldn’t be found for them all and they were placed in the local paediatric wards. There were no beds left for sick children, parents were protesting on hospital premises, writs were flying and chaos had broken out. This happened as Alison Taylor, Mary Wynch and I were writing to politicians and Ministers raising the alarm about events in north Wales – I have previously speculated that Cleveland provided a very useful distraction to allegations in north Wales that children were being sexually abused by the social services themselves and that there seemed to be a widespread network of professionals colluding with this. I have no idea whether Marietta Higgs really believed that all those children had been abused or not – she certainly won’t have been a worse doctor for being a woman, but if somebody wanted to manipulate her in the way that I suspect that they did, being a woman will have been a bonus. After all, women are caring and could never be colluding with or concealing the organised abuse of children could they? It’s why female social workers, Top Doctors and Angels were repeatedly told by Dafydd et al to tell the police that I’d threatened them or that they were terrified of me – it looks better coming from a Woman In Fear.

The case of Ann Dally was completely different from either Wendy Savage or Marietta Higgs. It was also driven by a rather different group of people, although the public scrap was among Top Doctors. From what I can gather from Ann Dally’s book, it was the police who very much wanted to nail her.

The police were so keen to demonstrate that Ann Dally was up to no good that they routinely questioned drug addicts in London as to whether they knew Ann Dally or if any of their friends knew her, they sent officers undercover who then purchased drugs from patients of Ann’s, former police officers were employed as private detectives to investigate the chemists to which she sent her patients and at one point Scotland Yard held an investigation into her. Paperwork from her accountant was examined -although that had been at the request of one of Dally’s barristers in an attempt to help her – and all of her financial affairs were probed. There was an attempt to bring a charge of deception against Ann.

The results were varied. One of Ann’s patients claimed that the police drafted his statement implicating her and he just signed it. One undercover officer did succeed in purchasing drugs from one of Dally’s patients. When prescriptions were examined it was discovered that Dally had been prescribing very generously for a lot of people. Dally herself talked of ‘1000s’ of addicts phoning or dropping in at her house. By Dally’s own admission, no-one could understand her accounts – not even her and Peter (Ann and Peter divorced in 1979 but remained on good terms and continued to run the practice together). Her rationale for this was that their accountant was unbeknown to them an alcoholic who was having a nervous breakdown. The Dallys were psychiatrists who specialised in addiction problems – were they too busy with Princess Margaret to notice their poor accountant disintegrating in front of them? I mentioned in my post ‘Compare And Contrast – The Case Of Two Doctors And The General Medical Council’ that the property owned and lifestyle enjoyed by Ann Dally as described by the GMC wasn’t that different from that enjoyed by many Harley Street Top Doctors at the time – they all trousered a lot of money. However, I note that in Ann’s book she states that a police officer was alleged to have made a comment to one of Ann’s patients about the amount of money that she must be making after he’d performed a few calculations. The police often get things badly wrong but one thing that the police are very good at is spotting when people seem to be in possession of a rather more money than one would expect, I’ve been very impressed with the police’s talent in this area. This morning someone who knew that I was researching the Dally case mentioned that there was cash stashed everywhere, not just in the Dallys’ bank account. It seemed to be complaints and questions sparked off by the police that landed Ann in trouble on each occasion.

One of Ann’s patients ended up in the secure prison on the Isle of Wight serving a three year stretch for supplying drugs. This man had been referred to Ann by a GP who ‘was under threat from the Home Office’ and who didn’t want to prescribe for him anymore. The patient had been an addict for many, many years, had a criminal record and told Ann that he was interested in qualifying as a social worker – he was undertaking a preliminary course at Coventry Poly and had been receiving treatment from a doctor at the Poly. Ann explains in her book that he had ‘exploited’ the ‘drug doctors’ of the 60s, Lady Frankau and Dr Petro and had received huge quantities of drugs from them. Lady Isabella Frankau and Petro were legendary. Frankau was acknowledged as being the mainstay of the flourishing illicit heroin market in the early 1960s – the Home Office considered her very harmful. She also prescribed cocaine and told other doctors to do this, which led to a cocaine market developing. Her prescribing was so bizarre as to be indefensible. Frankau was basically a drug dealer to high society. Petro was struck off. Ann’s patient who had previously acquired his goodies from Frankau and Petro also broke into the surgery of the doctor from Coventry Poly. I don’t know what his excuse for doing that was, but he told Ann that he hadn’t been supplying drugs, one of his friends was suffering from withdrawal symptoms so he’d lent him some drugs.

I have mentioned that the Home Office Drugs Branch were responsible for inspecting and monitoring doctors prescribing controlled drugs. Ann seemed to have a remarkably friendly relationship with some of those Inspectors, although she noticed that as the 1980s rolled on, the Inspectors were getting tougher and tougher on prescribing doctors. The Chief Inspector of the Drugs Branch between 1977 until his retirement in 1986 was Bing Spear. He had first entered the Drugs Branch of the Home Office in 1952 as an Inspector and was Deputy Chief Inspector between 1965-77. Bing Spear seems to have lingered on in the memories of many people who had doings with the world of addiction before he retired. He was of course a civil servant, but he seems to have been quite an unusual one. Spear had an excellent knowledge of the doctors working in drug dependency – he will have definitely known Dafydd – as well as of the voluntary bodies, Gov’t officials, police and customs officers. He also spent a lot of time mixing with addicts in the West End and personally knew nearly all of them. Not only that, but he knew who the dealers who initially had sold them drugs were, how long they’d been addicts, where there current supplies were coming from and who their current girlfriends were. He was known to be good friends with a number of addicts and would even turn up with them to attend the seminars of Prof Arnold Trebach – an American ‘legalise all drugs’ campaigner – when Trebach was in London. Bing was famous for being someone whom the addicts could go to ‘for help’. Bing’s stated ambition after he retired was to run an addicts union and ‘get the addicts organised’. (Dally was also enthusiastic about addicts establishing their own groups to lobby for their rights – she assisted in setting up one such group and her sons provided the group with free office space.) Bing was not a drugs outreach worker, he was a civil service Mandarin.

Bing Spear didn’t just prove helpful to addicts, Ann Dally really rated him too. He made it known that he ‘didn’t like’ the NHS DDUs and ‘encouraged’ Ann in her work with addicts. It was Bing who first warned Ann about the ‘mafia’ of Top Doctors working in drugs dependency – Bing was good enough to give Ann the names of those involved and provide her with the low-down on their techniques. It was also Bing who warned her when the mafia had their knives out for her. Ann’s first encounter with Bing was interesting. As her business boomed, she rang Bing for advice and was told by him that he had been waiting for her to ring because he thought that she’d need his help.

Bing certainly stuck his neck out on behalf of Ann. Ann maintained that the Top Doctors who condemned her were an ‘amorphous powerful’ group, comprised mostly of London DDU consultants, supported by a few others outside of London. Bing publicly identified the group in an interview in New Statesman. They had a number of connections with the Royal Colleges and the GMC and were especially influential because they had the confidence of David Mellor, the Minister at the Home Office. Mellor frequently appeared on TV explaining how he was ‘determined to beat the evil’ of drugs.

Ann got on very well with Bing’s colleague John Lawson as well – Lawson was the Senior Home Office Inspector for Drugs for London and the South East. Bing and Lawson were usually the Inspectors who visited Ann. As the authorities clamped down more and more on the prescribing of controlled drugs – and pursued Ann – by 1985 John Lawson had been transferred to Bristol, where he was responsible for the South West and Wales. Ann’s perception was that Lawson had been transferred because he was ‘too soft’ on doctors and the Home Office wanted a ‘hardliner’ in his place. But Lawson wasn’t demoted – he was transferred and given responsibility for WALES. So at the time that Dafydd was building up his empire in north Wales, John Lawson, a notoriously soft Inspector where questionable prescribing was concerned was transferred to Wales – where he would be responsible for inspecting and monitoring one Dr Dafydd Alun Jones.

Bing Spear retired in 1986, although Ann’s book suggests that he resigned, supposedly out of disgust at the way that her colleague Dr John Marks was being treated. Long before he retired however, Bing was in poor health.  Ann talks of him as being ‘yellow’ and having to go into hospital frequently for extended stays because of his heart and kidney troubles – there was usually a crisis when this happened because once Bing was indisposed, unfortunate things would happen to Ann at the hands of the authorities and Bing wouldn’t be there to fix it.

As I read the accounts of Bing and his somewhat unusual lifestyle for the most senior civil servant in the Home Office Drugs Branch, I couldn’t help wondering if perhaps Bing dabbled in a bit of chemical recreation himself. He hated the mafia who were restricting the supply of controlled drugs, didn’t seem too keen on helping the police or even his own colleagues in the Home Office, provided mountains of helpful advice and warnings to Ann when people were about to launch an investigation into her and he was a yellow colour and had extended stays in hospital. We know from Ann’s own account that some of her patients were civil servants and that if such folk had to be admitted to hospital for drug or psychiatric problems a pack of lies was told and it was all blamed on medical or surgical problems.

Ann Dally ended up appearing in front of the GMC on three separate occasions, on a number of charges. She was never struck off but was suspended and at one point banned from prescribing controlled drugs for 14 months – she appealed against the decision but lost the appeal. Her view was that until the early 1980s the GMC adopted a rather benign attitude to doctors treating addicts as well as to many other matters. Ann felt that their attitude changed ‘with a vengeance’ after Lord John Richardson retired as President – the GMC became much more of a prosecuting body and began hiring prosecutors, some with Old Bailey experience, in order to secure convictions against doctors.

The GMC were going through a torrid time during the years in which they were demanding Ann’s presence in front of the fitness to practice committee. There was public dissatisfaction with them because doctors were just never removed no matter how gross or lethal their misconduct – it was at this time that complaints were pouring into the GMC about Dafydd Alun Jones but there was zilch action taken – but doctors too were rising up against the GMC. The source of the doctors’ dissatisfaction was the GMC’s request a few years previously for an annual fee in order to retain their registration with the GMC. Doctors went ape and – among junior doctors in particular – there was a mass rebellion. Dr Michael O’Donnell – who was by then working as a full time journalist rather than a doctor – was a key figure in organising the revolt which resulted in O’Donnell being voted onto the GMC committee and then thousands of doctors refusing to pay their fee to the GMC. The GMC threatened to strike them all off and Keith Joseph, the then Secretary of State for Health, had kittens at the prospect of a shortfall of doctors in the public workforce. He set up a Public Inquiry Chaired by the nuclear physicist Sir Alec Merrison in order to try to placate the Top Doctors. Michael O’Donnell remained on the GMC committee and was as difficult as he could be. He was sympathetic to Dally – he had been a student at Tommy’s with her – and at the beginning of one of the hearings into her fitness to practice he walked out of the committee and did not return. Although O’Donnell was known for making those sorts of gestures.

Ann Dally did a number of things after she was banned from prescribing that confirmed the suspicions of those who believed that she was a purveyor of drugs. After the sentence was announced, there was a short lag before it actually came into effect – Dally had to receive written notification before it was effective. So she went back to Harley Street and literally churned out prescriptions until the very second that she was legally prevented from doing so. It was rather like the last day of the sales. It transpired that Dally had been confused about the rules and that she actually could have spent a few more hours dishing out the goodies. She only found out about this when she was told by a worker in a drugs organisation – she was on very good terms with these bodies as well – that her addicts had all complained about her because she could have prescribed for longer than she did.

As my friend observed re Dafydd – of course they like him, he gives them drugs…

Ann’s fan club dwindled quite suddenly when she was no longer dispensing. She made another little slip though – she did stop prescribing opiates but she continued to prescribe other controlled drugs. She was caught and a lot of people were very cross. Her supporters feared that this was it, she would now be struck off, although amazingly enough she wasn’t. Ann’s story was that she ‘didn’t know’ the drugs that she prescribed were on the controlled list. Which would seem to be an inexplicable lack of knowledge for a specialist in addiction who is being monitored by the Home Office – particularly one who had just been suspended by the GMC for irresponsible prescribing.

The fate of some of Ann’s patients after she could no longer treat them could be used to support either her view of good clinical practice or her opponents. A number of them were caught dealing and ended up in prison, some were involved in other criminal offences and some of them sadly died. There were indications that some of her patients were rather less vulnerable and knew how to survive in the big bad world. To illustrate how important it was for her to be allowed to continue to prescribe whatever her addicts requested, Ann Dally recounted anecdotes of them saying things like ‘oh well I’ll just have to commit a robbery then’. One man explained immediately that he’d return to Pakistan and begin importing heroin. Another patient was a ‘local authority worker with the elderly’ – presumably a social worker or similar – and told Ann that his elderly patients trusted him and had confided in him where they had hidden money and valuables. This man told Ann that if she were to stop prescribing and he was left without his fix, he didn’t think that he’d be able to resist turning the old folk’s houses over. Dally claims that she knew that a number of her patients did make arrangements to turn to serious crime.

In the aftermath of Ann Dally’s suspension there was substantial media interest both in her case and in the debate regarding the best way of treating drug addicts. She made TV and radio appearances and a flurry of articles in the press were published. The publicity surrounding her own particular case eventually died down, but the treatment of drug addicts remained problematic. Dr John Marks, who ran a clinic in Widnes on Merseyside, also treated addicts using maintenance therapy. Unlike Dally, Marks had the support of the police – the Cheshire police carried out some fairly sound research and concluded that there had been a huge decrease in drug-related crime as a consequence of Dr Marks’ practice. Dealers also stopped frequenting the area because there was no demand for their wares. Dr Marks’ locality was one of the few areas in the UK where there was no HIV-AIDS cases at all. Nonetheless, Dr Marks’ clinic was closed down by sleight of hand – a local authority reorganisation took place which led to the disappearance of his Health Authority and thus his clinic. Dr Marks emigrated to New Zealand. A previous post describes how Dr John Marks wanted to relocate to north Wales but Gwynedd Health Authority blocked his appointment on the grounds that he was ‘controversial’. They gave the contract for substance abuse services to Dafydd Alun Jones instead.

So that’s an overview of the Ann Dally case. As ever, if we really want to shed light on the more interesting aspects of it all, we need to take a look at those who played leading roles in the drama, including both those who supported Dally and those who opposed her.

 

Dally knew influential people and public figures from her earliest days. She was from a well-known family and Marie Stopes was among the family’s friends. She was at Somerville College with Margaret Thatcher – although they weren’t friends – and scores of people whom she studied with at Tommy’s became big names in medicine. She was of course taught by many big names in medicine. We have seen the sort of patients whom she treated – even the most modest of them were solidly middle class and affluent and some were members of the Royal Family. Someone like Ann Dally would be able to muster a great deal of support when they encountered difficulties of any sort. I suspect that the fact that so many of her friends and patients worked in the media may have been responsible for much of the sympathetic coverage that her case received.

Although Dally and her mates didn’t seem to like Thatcher at all when they were at Oxford, when in 1983 Dally was invited to Downing Street in her capacity as an ‘expert’ in drug dependency to meet Thatcher, she clearly felt that she would be in a position to influence her. Dally seemed to have changed her view about Thatcher once Thatcher became PM. She had previously thought that Thatcher was rather boring and not really worth spending time with – shortly after Thatcher was elected as an MP, Thatcher had been invited to a gathering of Somerville Alumni to give a talk. The talk had been so yawningly dull that afterwards people demanded that Thatcher never be invited back again. But now that she was PM Dally saw qualities that had been well-concealed. Dally thought that she was making headway with Thatcher, but she did detect a certain frostiness from the other person present at their meeting – Dr Pamela Mason, whom Dally describes as the Senior Doctor at the Drugs Branch of the DHSS.

I have found a copy of the Bulletin of the Royal College of Psychiatrists from Dec 1985, summarising Parliamentary News, Feb-July 1985. This document was compiled by this blog’s old friend Professor Robert Bluglass, the man who concealed the criminal activities of Dafydd et al in north Wales in 1988! There are loads of names from the past mentioned in this document, one of which was Dr Pamela Mason’s. Mason is described as being the Director of the Mental Health Division in the DHSS. Things were certainly not going well in the Mental Health Division. Not only was Pamela presiding over the chaos and criminality in the north Wales mental health service, but this Bulletin reminded me of a few other problems from that time.

John Patten MP, a Minister in the DHSS, had announced that the DHSS was funding three studies into solvent abuse. One of those studies was to be undertaken by Professor R.H. Anderson at that den of corruption, St George’s Hospital Medical School. In 1985 Oliver Brooke who was later imprisoned for the possession of huge quantities of child porn was still employed as the Professor of Paediatrics at St George’s. The rest of the crooks who covered up for Dafydd et al in 1990/91 were busy down there as well.

The Bulletin mentions that David Mellor of the Home Office announced that there were no plans to increase the level of medical cover and no intention to provide special counselling and advisory services for self-harming prisoners in Holloway. Holloway at that time had a terrible reputation – there were scores of women in there whom everyone acknowledged had serious mental health problems and histories of abuse who were constantly injuring and killing themselves. The response to this was to drug them up to the eye-balls – which was clearly going to continue after Mellor’s statement. There was one part of Holloway that was too embarrassing even for Thatcher’s Home Office though. The Bulletin tells us that the Holloway Project Committee – which included Dr Pamela Mason – is to review the role and future of Holloway (Holloway was eventually closed but it took until very recently for that to happen). Lord Glenarthur -a previous star of this blog – stated that the Gov’t accepted the Report from the Committee that C1 Unit for ‘disturbed women prisoners’ was not meeting the needs of the inmates within. Glenarthur confirmed that there would be an urgent reassessment and immediate steps to improve conditions at the unit. C1 Unit was notorious – it was known as the ‘muppet house’ amongst the prisoners and contained scores of prisoners whom everybody accepted should never have been in prison, were severely mentally ill but somehow were never transferred to hospital. The other prisoners would hear the wails and screams from the muppet house day and night and suicides were common there. The muppet house will have contained many women who will have been abused as kids in care or by the mental health services – which is probably why Holloway had such trouble finding beds for the muppets in psychiatric hospitals. Just look what the Top Doctors were up to – a lot of those muppets will have been destroyed by the Top Doctors themselves because they’d witnessed or suffered a few things that the Top Doctors and others were desperate to keep quiet.

The Bulletin contains an interesting little bit about Wales. In May 1985 the Secretary of State for Wales stated that all Health Authorities, Local Authorities and Family Practitioner Committees were required to form Committees which included representatives of the voluntary sector to provide services for mental illness. So MIND were now officially part of the landscape of ‘service’ provision – the MIND which was at the time also colluding with the criminal activities in north Wales, whilst Tessa Jowell and William Bingley held senior positions there. The Secretary of State for Wales referred to was Nicholas Edwardes, now Lord Crickhowell. Edwardes had admitted that there was ‘much to be done’ to decentralise psychiatric services and the Welsh Office had arranged for a further independent review of mental illness services jointly by the NHS Health Advisory Services and Social Work Services of the Welsh Office between 1985/86-87. So the crooks in the NHS ignoring the wrongdoing of Dafydd et al in were going to get together with the crooks in the Social Work Services who were ignoring a paedophile ring operating in Clwyd and Gwynedd Social Services to ‘independently’ review the mental health services. No wonder the patients continued to die and go to prison after being stitched up for crimes that they had not committed. 1985, 86 and 87 were the very years that Alison Taylor, Mary Wynch and me all presented evidence of the most serious abuses and corruption in the mental health services and children’s services in north Wales. The ‘independent review’ managed not to investigate our allegations.

So the culprits at the helm of the massive cover-up were Dr Pamela Mason, Nicholas Edwards, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Security Norman Fowler and the Home Secretaries covering that period, which were Leon Brittan and Douglas Hurd.

The horror of what was happening is confirmed by another piece that appears in the Bulletin. In June 1985 John Patten confirmed that under the complaints procedures for special hospitals managed directly by the DHSS ie. Broadmoor, Ashworth and Rampton, a proportion of complaints went straight to Ministry Officials at the DHSS. Patten stated that the procedures for dealing with the complaints were ‘well-established’. Referring to a matter that was reported in Oct 1984 that was requested to be investigated – although details of the matter concerned were not revealed – the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration expressed satisfaction with the way in which complaints made by a Broadmoor patient had been dealt with.

It is now known that in 1985, patients in the special hospitals were being physically and sexually abused, that child porn was being passed around these ‘hospitals’, that children were taken onto the premises to visit patients who were paedophiles and that nearly all the women patients had been sexually abused before they ever got near these places. The DHSS clearly knew about this as well. Not long after Bluglass wrote this Bulletin, Baroness Trumpington thought that the answer to all this was to appoint Jimmy Savile as manager of Broadmooor. What could ever go wrong?

The Bulletin also reveals that in July 1985 the Minister for Health Ken Clarke stated that the determination of the criteria for registering nursing homes lay with the District Health Authority in whose area the home was located. Clarke was satisfied that the existing codes of practice were of sufficiently high standard without being too strict. In the event of a dispute between a proprieter of the nursing home and the DHA, the matter would be determined by an appeal to the Registered Homes Tribunal, which the Gov’t had set up.

In 1985 complaints of abuse and neglect of patients in ‘nursing homes’ run by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones were common. The situation in one of these ‘homes’ for psychiatric patients in Llandudno, Holyrood House, was so bad that it eventually became a national scandal and was even featured by Esther on ‘That’s Life’. Patients were being beaten up and a drug addict from Liverpool was responsible for the drugs cabinet. Before Holyrood House hit the national media, MIND knew what was going on there, Jones’s colleague Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) knew what was going on, as did the Local Authority covering the Llandudno area. The Health Authority will have known as well. As for the Registered Homes Tribunal – a previous post mentions that Councillors in Clwyd were sitting on those Tribunals. Clwyd County Council knew that a paedophile ring was operating in it’s children’s homes and did nothing. Some people – such as Tory MP Beata Brookes – sat on both Clwyd County Council/Social Services and Clwyd Health Authority. Clwyd Health Authority was the employer of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones.

This was a system that could not have been designed by accident.

We can see that it was no accident from another feature in the Bulletin, which makes a reference to Lord David Ennals holding a debate on the future of St Thomas’s Hospital. Tommy’s was indeed under threat in the 1980s. Tommy’s remained unscathed. I wonder why that was? It only educated and employed all those leading lights in the British medical establishment – including the Dallys – who then all went to war on each other when the police started investigating Ann Dally.

The Bulletin reveals that in July 1985-86 the Minister of Health estimated the cost of the Mental Health Act Commission to be £1,022,000. A previous post details how the Mental Health Act Commission colluded with the north Wales mental health services and lied to me after I complained to them about being unlawfully detained in north Wales by Dafydd et al. Tessa Jowell was a member of that Commission.

So Norman Fowler was happy to spend approx. 1 million pa to conceal organised crime involving child abuse in the British welfare state, including the Westminster Paedophile Ring.

The Bulletin reveals that the Chairman of the Social Services Committee in the Commons at this time – who would have been in a position to ask some very awkward questions about this catalogue of horrors but noticeably didn’t – was a Renee Short.

Short was the Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East and was considered a ‘firebrand’, a female politician on the left of the party. Renee championed women’s and children’s issues! I think that we have been here before. Short was sponsored by the TGWU, was mates with trade unionist Jack Jones and was a member of Labour’s NEC, 1970-88. Short was the representative of the Wimmin’s Section. Short co-sponsored Neil Kinnock for the leadership of the Labour Party. Short’s obituaries tell us that she campaigned on ‘social issues’, including women in prison and on behalf of junior hospital doctors no less. So appreciative of her efforts were the Top Doctors that they made Renee a lay member of the MRC. Short ended up in a battle in her own constituency and was deselected – it was blamed on Militant, but one wonders whether she’d pissed a few other people off as well. She resigned after making a deal with Kinnock that if she did this, she would be rewarded with a peerage – although Kinnock wasn’t able to stump up one of those for her. In 2007 the Daily Mail carried an article about Renee’s granddaughter, who had become ‘hooked on drugs at 15’. Renee’s granddaughter bangs on about the irony of this, as her grandmother had been a well-known ‘anti-drugs campaigner’. I hate to disillusion Renee’s family, but if Renee had really wanted to make a difference in this area, all she needed to have done was make the activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones public during all those years that she Chaired the Select Committee on Social Services, ie. 1979-87. But Renee remained completely silent, as well as remaining silent on the reality of what was happening in children’s homes, in the special hospitals and indeed in women’s prisons. Because speaking out would have upset the Top Doctors as well as the numerous other people who knew that children were being sexually abused by politicians from all parties, as well as others.

I can only wonder why Short didn’t end up in the Lords along with all the others who colluded with and concealed organised child abuse. Why ever did old Kinnock fail to come up with the goods?

On 2 Sept 1985 Barney Heyhoe replaced Ken Clarke as Minister of Health. Clarke accepted an appointment as Paymaster General.

The Bulletin also published an angry letter concerning junior doctors training from a Dr Julie Hollyman, of the College Trainees Committee of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. A previous post details how by 1990 Hollyman had become a truly vile consultant at Springfield Hospital, the psychiatric unit attached to St Georges who was hated by her colleagues. Hollyman was given management responsibilities at Springfield. A number of patients were raped and sexually assaulted on her watch. She was then appointed to lead Broadmoor.

Can I ask Lord John Patten, David Mellor, Ken Clarke, Dr Pamela Mason, Lady Tessa Jowell, William Bingley, Lord David Ennals, Lord Simon Glenarthur, Lord Crickhowell, Norman Fowler, Leon Brittan – or at least those of them who are still alive – how they manage to sleep at night in their expensive residences surrounded by everything that they ever need as their glorious careers approach their end?

 

 

Now for a bit of background on some of Ann Dally’s friends and supporters.

Ann was at Tommy’s with Dr Michael O’Donnell who was sympathetic to her and seems to have used his position to muster support for her. O’Donnell came from Yorkshire where his own father had been a GP. O’Donnell himself practiced as a GP in Surrey for 12 years and then gave up medicine completely to pursue a media career. He had never spent that much time doing medicine anyway – he boasted about being a ‘part-time’ medical student, as a result of spending so much time pursuing other interests, including cricket, theatre and writing. O’Donnell knew many people who later became very big in the media world – such as David Frost and the members of Monty Python – from his time in Footlights at Cambridge. He later became a ubiquitous presence on Radio 4 and BBC TV, presenting light entertainment shows. Some of his programmes came under fire for being too shallow and flippant, even for BBC light entertainment. O’Donnell also worked for Yorkshire Television and Associated Television. O’Donnell edited World Medicine for 16 years, a sort of cliquey self-congratulatory publication of the sort that Top Doctors really love. He was forced to resign in 1982 after a dispute with the publisher. The senior editorial staff resigned in sympathy and the publication folded two years later. O’Donnell worked as a Times columnist but resigned when the editor Sir Harold Evans was forced to resign.

One of O’Donnell’s many jobs was as scientific advisor on the Lindsay Anderson film ‘O Lucky Man’. ‘O Lucky Man’ is a film which highlights corruption within the British establishment, including medicine. Some parts of ‘O Lucky Man’ are frighteningly accurate. Yet throughout his career O’Donnell made no real attempt to challenge the terrible reality in medicine that he undoubtedly knew about. He was rude about the ‘medical establishment’ and liked to think if himself as a rebel, but he was far too busy farting around on ‘Stop The Week’ or ‘My Word’ to raise serious questions about the institutionalised corruption that was ruining lives and leaving some people dead.

O’Donnell mobilised massive support for his campaign to reform the GMC, but the results were so limited that he might as well have not bothered. The GMC continued to protect dangerous doctors and put patients at risk – O’Donnell himself sat on the GMC Council until 1996 and for the last two years he was Chairman of the Standards Committee. Dafydd et al continued in their own sweet way, as of course did Harold Shipman.

O’Donnell’s own explanation was that the ‘reform’ of the GMC stopped when Sir (later Lord) John Richardson retired as President.

John Richardson was President of the GMC 1973-80. He was President of the BMA 1970-71 and of the Royal Society for Medicine 1969-71. He was Chair of the Joint Consultants Committee 1967-72. He trained and worked at Tommy’s, as did most other people involved in this story. Richardson had at one point attended King George VI and was Harold Macmillan’s personal physician for 40 years – he became good friends with Macmillan. Like O’Donnell, Richardson was from Yorkshire – Richardson’s own father was a solicitor from Sheffield. Richardson retired from Tommy’s in 1975. In his capacity as President of the GMC he regularly met Ministers, including Barbara Castle whilst she was Secretary of State at the DHSS, 1974-76, when she did battle with the Top Doctors over pay beds in the NHS. Richardson was also Vice-President of the RCN from 1972 – it helps to have the Top Doctors controlling the other professions who know what they get up to.

Richardson was also consulting physician to King Edward VII’s Hospital for Officers; Consultant Emeritus to the British Army and Consultant Physician to the Metropolitan Police 1957-80. He was given a peerage in 1979 and campaigned from the Lords to stop the proposed closure of A&E at Tommy’s.

Richardson’s obituary in the Guardian described him as a ‘networker’ who was ‘never one to miss an opportunity’, ‘who did no significant research and was not a brilliant physician’. He was ‘ambitious, sometimes fawning’ and the medical students at Tommy’s tagged him ‘Sir John’ before he actually acquired his baronetcy – which was given to him by Macmillan in 1960.

Richardson retired to north Devon. Did anyone really expect a man with his biography to ‘reform’ the GMC?

 

Along with Michael O’Donnell, Diana Brahams was another high profile medical writer who was sympathetic to Dally. Brahams was everywhere in the 80s and 90s, she was usually invited to comment on ethical or medico-legal issues of that time. I have only just learnt that Brahams worked for the MDU – that was certainly never made clear when she was presented in the media as a ‘barrister’ who was an ‘expert’. Documents in my possession demonstrate that between 1985-1992 (at least) the MDU knew the extent of the wrongdoing in the north Wales mental health services and continued to act for Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) even though they knew that he was perjuring himself and they themselves had advised him to not to pursue litigation against me. Nonetheless, in 1991, Sir Robert Francis QC, whilst acting for the MDU, attempted to have me imprisoned on the instructions of Tony Francis.

Brahams seems to be based in north London near St John’s Wood and is a founder member of ‘Healthwatch’, which states that it is for ‘science and integrity in medicine’. Members include Professor Michael Baum the surgeon, Professor Susan Bewley (the daughter of two other Top Doctors, Thomas and Beulah Bewley, of whom I will be writing more later in this post) and Heinz Wolff, the man who starred on the BBC in an attempt to incite an interest in science among people of my generation when we were children. The Patron of ‘Healthwatch’ is Lord Dick Taverne – someone else known to this blog.

Brahams is also a Trustee of the Medico-Legal Society – a ‘charity’, whose registered address is Hempsons offices in London. Hempsons are the solicitors of the MDU. The stated object of the Medico-Legal Society is ‘to promote medico-legal knowledge in all its aspects’. Their meetings take place at the Medical Society of London.

Another Trustee of the Medico-Legal Society is Dr Kate Allsopp. Dr Kate Allsopp is mentioned regularly in Ann Dally’s book. Kate was a friend of Ann’s. Ann mentiones in her book that Kate was a useful person to have on side because she was shortly to become the Joint Deputy Secretary, ‘the second in command’ of the MDU. Ann was also on good terms with Dr John Wall, who later became Secretary of the MDU.

The President of the Medico-Legal Society is Dr Daniel Haines. Dr Haines doubles up as the honorary treasurer of the Royal Society of Medicine. After serving in the Falklands conflict – during which time he was taken prisoner – Daniel returned to London and worked as a GP, as well as a police surgeon with the Metropolitan Police. Daniel is now involved in expert witness work – he specialises in rape and child sexual abuse no less. Well Daniel, as an expert in the field, you certainly have an awful lot of colleagues who have worked for the MDU whom you can quiz for details…

Another medical writer who supported Dally was Dr Ian Munro. Munro trained at Guy’s and was Deputy Editor of the Lancet, 1965-76 and then Editor, 1976-88. Munro wrote many of the Lancet’s anonymous editorials, including one in 1983 which was a robust attack on the Secretary of State Norman Fowler, demanding his resignation – but not because of a high level cover-up of the Westminster Paedophile Ring, rather because of NHS strikes. If only they’d have all stayed on strike, they wouldn’t have been facilitating a paedophile ring in north Wales and flogging drugs. Or perjuring themselves in order to try and imprison people who’d dared complain about them.

Ian Munro was also an early and consistent champion of Wendy Savage.

Munro was known to have been ‘accessible to his colleagues in Fleet Street even in unsocial hours’. Top Doctors Calling, Top Doctors Calling…

Ian Munro was also from Yorkshire – from Bradford. He retained a lifelong involvement with Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

 

One of Ann’s friends from Tommy’s was Dr Elizabeth Fletcher – Fletcher acted as a character witness for Ann. Elizabeth Fletcher’s claim to fame was that after working as a GP, she became Chief Medical Officer at the BBC, 1975-80. She’ll have known about Savile then. Ann’s book mentions that among her patients were a number of senior employees of the BBC. Frank Bough was famously publicly identified as enjoying coke and prostitutes and of course Stephen Fry that well-known MIND ambassador boasted of snorting coke in Buck House – they won’t have minded Stephen, they were patients of the Dallys – but there will be many more at the BBC who enjoy recreational chemicals who haven’t been outed by the tabloids. Perhaps because the tabloid journos had become friends with them after meeting them in Ann Dally’s waiting room.

Austen Kark was another character witness for Ann. Austen was a journalist and a BBC Executive. Austen started at the BBC in 1954. He was mostly involved with the World Service and was its MD, 1984-86.

Austen was part of the comfortable north London set as well, he lived in Islington.

A third character witness for Ann was Lady Zaida Ramsbotham. Ann states frankly in her book that her lawyers had selected Lady Zaida as a character witness because of her title – Ann was told that ‘it helps’. (Sir Jimmy Savile???) Zaida only became Lady Zaida after she married Sir Peter Ramsbotham, Britain’s former Ambassador to Washington – who was appointed by Ted Heath. Ramsbotham was described as an ‘old fashioned snob’, which his friends maintained was a ‘gross’ ‘unjust’ charge. Even if being a Lady meant that his wife was useful to a dealer when she was in hot water. Ramsbotham enjoyed a warm friendship with President Jimmy Carter.

When he retired in 1980, Peter Ramsbotham became a Trustee of the Leonard Cheshire Foundation; Chair of the Ryder-Cheshire Mission for the Relief of Suffering; a Director of Lloyds Bank and of the Commercial Union Assurance Co. He was a member of the Garrick and was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire in 1992.

Zaida married Peter in 1985 and thus acquired a title that impressed people. Before that she was Dr Zaida Hall. Her obituary from the British Journal of Psychiatry tells us that she was one of the first women students at St George’s Hospital Medical School and that she did her psychiatry training at the Maudsley. In 1971 Zaida Hall was appointed as the first female consultant psychiatrist at Southampton University/the Royal South Hants Hospital. She built up the psychotherapy dept and also worked at Red Hatch Remand Centre in Winchester for ‘delinquent girls’. Zaida was honest enough to admit that most of the ‘delinquent girls’ had been physically or sexually abused. Zaida started group therapy for female survivors of sexual abuse and later for male survivors as well. Zaida Hall used her position to publish and promote women’s mental health. Hall famously did battle with the group of therapists who publicised the notion of ‘false memory’. Which is a minefield. The wonderful thing about the notion of false memory is that it can be used to discredit the claims survivors of sexual abuse. But then so can the notion that false memory doesn’t exist. It all depends upon who’s accusing who and who the therapist is. But then nearly all psychotherapeutic notions can be used to discredit people who have been abused. Which is why the discipline has proved so useful. St George’s specialise in it and Dafydd learnt at the knee of Bob Hobson, one of Britain’s most prominent psychotherapists at the Maudsley.  So you can’t argue with that. As Dafydd once told me himself in 1987 when I accused him of the most appalling corruption – after he had me arrested on trumped up charges of ‘trying to stab a psychiatrist’. The psychiatrist who made the statement maintaining that I had done this worked for Dafydd and later admitted that I hadn’t tried to stab him after all. He was never disciplined or charged himself, although I would have gone to prison if the police had not got to the truth. In fact Dafydd was so certain that this scam would be successful that he even wrote to the Mental Health Acts Commission and told them that I had been sent to Risley Remand Centre for trying to stab a psychiatrist – and they wrote back to him confirming it!

You jumped the gun there boys…and the incriminating letters are now in my possession.

A  close friend of Ann’s was Dr Dale Beckett, again someone based in Islington. Dale Beckett had interests in drug addiction, hypnotherapy, NLP and the ‘spiritual aspect of emotional disorders’. Beckett acted as an expert witness for Dally.

Another friend was Roger Toulmin who had worked as a radio producer for the BBC and for the Times. Toulmin then became a civil servant in the DHSS. He guided the Committee of Top Doctors, nurses and midwives under the Chairmanship of Dame Alice Munro which resulted in the 1985 Report ‘Maternity Care In Action’. Ann stressed that Toulmin was a ‘bachelor’ which made his interest in the welfare of women and young children all the more impressive. Unfortunately though dear old Roger and Dame Alice didn’t manage to improve anything – Maternity Care In Action in the UK is still not what it should be and we have mortality rates for mothers and babies that are worse than some of the countries that we enjoy sneering at and imagine that their citizens are all trying to make their way to the UK to use our glorious NHS.

Ann was also friendly with Dr James Willis, who ran the drug dependency service on Merseyside before Dr John Marks took it over. I mentioned John Marks (not to be confused with the Dr John Marks who was head of the BMA for many years) previously. Marks acted as an expert witness for Dally. He ran the Chapel Street Clinic in Widnes, where he legally prescribed maintenance doses of heroin and cocaine. Great results were claimed, including by the Cheshire Drug Squad – the thing that everyone was most impressed with at the time was that none of John Marks’ patients died from AIDS. John Marks was basically hounded out and the clinic shut down in 1995. Marks himself maintains that he believes that his clinic was shut down after the US current affairs programme 60 Minutes screened a programme about his clinic in 1990. The US Republican administration became aware of the clinic, it’s methods and it’s success and Marks alleges that they put pressure on the British Gov’t to close it. Bing Spear was an enthusiastic supporter of John Marks’ clinic and rang Marks a few months after the programme was screened, claiming that there was ‘real heat’ from the embassy in Washington and that Thatcher had ‘got her knickers in a twist’.

It is alleged that Bing resigned after Marks’ clinic was closed and was replaced by an Alan MacFarlane, who considered John Marks to be ‘dangerous’.

There is a discrepancy here that I have not been able to get to the bottom of. It is alleged that Bing resigned as a consequence of Marks being shut down. Yet Bing Spear retired in 1986 – the TV programme wasn’t screened until 1990 and Marks’ clinic didn’t close until 1995. So at least some of this story isn’t true.

However, I can well-imagine that Dr John Marks, if he was running a highly successful clinic for drug addicts which was becoming famous, would have faced opposition from just about everybody. There would be the usual complaints from the neighbourhood of ‘we don’t want these sorts of people here’ – and the neighbours would be really worried about that clinic expanding. There would be the anxieties re property prices and the fate of neighbouring businesses. But Marks would also be loathed by the rest of the medical establishment as well – they were screwing up big time, so they really won’t have wanted him up in Widnes showing them up for the fools that they were. Furthermore, Marks’ clinic was alleged to have put local illicit drug dealers out of business – there was no call for their products anymore. Organised drug trafficking is big business and involves many ‘respectable’ people – they’ll have wanted John Marks out of the way. And of course there was the utter embarrassment that was Dafydd just down the A55 in north Wales – a whole pyramid of corruption and bad practice depended upon the continued presence of Dafydd and John Marks would have presented a major threat to all of it. Addicts were not going to waste their time and money with Dafydd if there was a man just next door on the Wirral from whom they could receive a service.

So Dafydd stayed in business and Dr Marks emigrated to New Zealand.

Nice result US Republican party, whose members did not have to live with the effects of Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends.

Other writers who supported Dally included George Mikes, a journalist known for his humorous articles. Papers that he wrote for included the Observer and the Times Literary Supplement. Mikes’ had worked for the BBC’s Hungarian Service. Mikes was a member of the Garrick and was a good friend of Arthur Koestler – who was alleged to have been highly abusive to women. The journalist Jill Tweedie wrote an article in her later years describing how Koestler had violently raped her when she was young. Andrew Veitch also covered the case sympathetically – Veitch was born in Wrexham no less. His journalism received awards from, among others, paedophiles’ friends the Royal Television Society and the Terence Higgins Trust. Andrew Tyler wrote a piece for Time Out that Ann really loved – a ‘frank’ article that ‘frightened’ the Home Office and the drug dependency establishment. Tyler was a rock journalist who had worked for the NME. In 1996 he became the Director of Animal Aid. Sadly he developed Parkinsons – he chose to die at the Dignitas clinic.

Bill Nelles was also a supporter of Dally and a former addict patient of hers. Nelles was the Drugs Education Officer at the Terence Higgins Trust at the time. He went on to work for West Berkshire Health Authority, training doctors and drug users. He later became the HIV co-ordinator for North Birmingham Health Authority, the HIV co-ordinator for Harrow and Hillingdon NHS Community Trust and then in 1999 the CEO of the Methadone Alliance. He now lives and works in Canada.

Dally received a substantial amount of TV coverage, particularly after her case. She had much contact with John Ware the producer of Panorama, although she was disappointed at the Panorama programme that was eventually screened. She complained that it featured such unsavoury matters as ‘housing estates and crime on Merseyside’. Which doesn’t look quite as good as Harley Street and Belgravia, which were the stamping grounds of Ann’s patients. Dally later discovered that Ware had done a deal with the GMC and had only screened what they had approved.

Ann featured in ‘Hypotheticals’, a TV programme in which a barrister questioned people on opposing sides of an argument. Dally’s book noted that the ‘young barrister’ hosting the programme was a Jane Belson. Jane Belson eventually became Mrs Douglas Adams of ‘Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy’ fame. After graduating from Oxford, Belson worked for the Treasury. She lived with Adams in Islington and after a few diplomatic incidents they got married. They moved to LA, then to California and later returned to London. Belson and Adam were networked to an enormous circle of celebs, including many at the BBC.

Sir Henry Yellowlees also took part in the ‘Hypotheticals’ programme, opposing Ann – Yellowlees had been on the GMC panel for one of her hearings. Yellowlees was Chief Medical Officer for the DHSS, 1973-84. He had previously held a sequence of appointments on the Regional Hospital Boards (one of the Regional Hospital Board’s ran the North Wales Hospital Denbigh in the era when Gwynne the lobotomist was busy as well as Dafydd); he was seconded to the Ministry of Health in 1963 as Principal Medical Officer, after which he received promotion regularly; in 1976 he was appointed Sir George Godber’s Deputy. Godber was CMO, 1960-73 – he has a God-like status in NHS history because he was instrumental in forming the NHS. Yellowlees had battles with Barbara Castle between 1974-76 when she was trying to remove pay beds from the NHS – this led to industrial action from the Top Doctors and then industrial action from the ancillary staff who refused to provide services for patients in pay beds. So there was great trouble from those self-sacrificing NHS staff.

Yellowlees was the son of a psychiatrist himself. He left the DHSS in 1983 and then spent a year at the MoD, working on a new structure for the medical staff in the armed services; he was also a consultant to WHO. Yellowlees was a member of MRC for 9 years and a member of the GMC for 10 years. He sat on the NHS Supervisory Board for 10 years. Yellowlees served under Secretaries of State Keith Joseph, Barbara Castle, David Ennals, Norman Fowler and Patrick Jenkin.

Ken Clarke’s autobiography maintains that Yellowlees was a dreadful old bugger who’s main concern was to ascertain which Top Doctors would receive which honours.

 

Someone who appeared on ‘Hypotheticals’ in support of Ann was one of her patients, Carlin Wilkowski. Carlin still has quite an internet presence – she describes herself as an ‘addict mother’ and seems to be based in Highgate.

Dr Cindy Fazey, a criminologist from Liverpool, offered to act as an expert witness for Dally. Fazey has been the Professor of International Drug Policy at Liverpool University since 1998. She is the former Chief of Demand Reduction for the UN Control Programme. Fazey’s husband may well have proved useful to Dally as well – Ian Fazey is a journalist. He was the northern correspondent for the Financial Times during the 80s and worked for the paper until 1996. He and Cindy met whilst they were students at Aston University and Ian began his career on the Birmingham Post. He then moved to the Liverpool Daily Post where he became Deputy Editor, before becoming the General Manager of the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo in 1976.

The Liverpool Daily Post is the sister paper of the Daily Post which serves north Wales. The Daily Post is a real laugh because for years it has so obviously served as a PR sheet for the paedophiles’ friends. Dafydd himself was regularly featured in there as the centre of flattering profiles until he became very elderly. The most offensive thing that I ever read in the Daily Post was an ‘interview’ with Dafydd back in the early 1990s, in which Dafydd was asked a series of utterly obsequious questions, including one which made reference to Dafydd being known to be ‘attractive to women’ and asking him why he thought this was. This was a man who was sexually exploiting female patients – whom he had unlawfully imprisoned in a hell-hole of an asylum – whilst facilitating a paedophile ring. What did the Daily Post think that they were doing? Dafydd’s patients were universally revolted by him – not only was he unpleasant and unhinged, but he was filthy. He smelt, his teeth were green, his clothes were dirty and he was always covered in dandruff. A copy of the Daily Post was circulated around the psychiatric ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd on the day that article was published and I actually witnessed two male psych nurses – two with a sense of humour – being told that there was a photo of Dafydd in the paper. One of them yelled out ‘have they captured the dandruff?’ and they then both fell about laughing because even in the photo, you could see that Dafydd had his regular covering on the shoulders of his suit. This man worked in hospitals where the degree of ‘illness’ in patients was partially judged on whether their ‘personal hygiene’ was up to scratch. It was utterly nonsensical, like most of UK psychiatry.

Jeremy Laurance wrote articles in a number of publications about Dally. The article he wrote for New Society was described by Dally as ‘disappointing’. She was cross because Laurance had ‘invented’ a bit about Dally treating an addict in the Royal Family. Dally also became vexed with the Sunday Times for having the temerity to publish that she had a pop star among her patients and surprise surprise, they had even ‘got hold of the idea that I was psych to Princess Margaret’. How did these publications ever draw such conclusions? Because Peter and Ann Dally talked about it that’s how.

Dally intriguingly states that ‘later Jeremy was converted to my way of thinking’ and along with his Editor David Lipsey, became a ‘useful supporter’. David Lipsey ended up receiving a peerage from Tony Blair – he was named and shamed as one of Tony’s Cronies. Lipsey worked on the Sunday Times, the Sunday Correspondent, the Times, the Guardian and the Economist. He had been an advisor to Tony Crosland when Crosland was in opposition and an advisor to No 10. He was Chair of Streatham Labour Party, 1970-72 and Chair of the Fabian Society, 1982-83.

 

Obviously with Ann Dally entering into battle with the police, the Home Office Inspectorate, the GMC and the Court of Appeal at various times during the 80s, she had extensive dealings with lawyers. Although from what I saw in north Wales the MDU do an excellent job of defending Top Doctors even when they know that the Top Doctors concerned have been involved in serious criminal conduct, Ann Dally had a low opinion of the MDU, repeatedly stating that she did not trust them and was disenchanted with them. Her poor opinion of them seems to have stemmed from an incident when she had acted as an ‘expert witness’ for another Top Doctor who stood accused of questionable practices with drug addicts. Dally arrived at the Temple for a legal conference regarding this man’s case, only to be told by the clerk that no conference had been arranged. The solicitor from the MDU arrived and was told the same thing. It transpired that a conference HAD been arranged, but no-one had told the Counsel, so he’d gone home. Therefore the conference would have to be rearranged. The main concern of the man from the MDU was how expensive this was. Yet everyone involved had been retained by the MDU – so whoever had screwed up was working for the MDU.

The solicitor upon whom Ann relied extensively was a friend of hers, John Calderon, who did not work for the MDU but who worked in the City. Calderon recommended Christopher Sumner as Counsel. John also wanted Dally to use Hempsons, the MDU solicitors but she flatly refused. Despite this, the MDU did agree to pay for John Calderon’s representation, although the MDU wanted to be present at all meetings with lawyers. The MDU also funded Dally’s (unsuccessful) appeal to the Privy Council House of Lords Judicial Committee after she was barred from prescribing by the GMC.

Calderon wanted a Top Doctor to sit in with the lawyers and comment on the scientific evidence in Ann’s case. The Top Doctor selected to do this was none other than Dr John Harman, Harriet’s dad. One of the many comments following my post ‘Wheels Within Wheels Or Flies Drawn To The Same Incestuously Corrupt Shithouse?’ mentions the role that John Harman played in defending John Bodkin Adams, a Top Doctor who killed his patients. Dally describes John Harman as having ‘one of the best brains I knew for exposing medical guff’.

Dally liked Christopher Sumner. Sir Christopher Sumner as he became was appointed a Circuit judge in 1987, a High Court judge in 1996 and ended up in the Court of Appeal. He worked as an advocate and a High Court judge in the Family Division.

When John Calderon was unavailable for Dally’s appeal – he was on holiday – Dally used the services of another solicitor, John Kelleher. Kelleher is now a partner in Carey Olsen and practices in Jersey. In 1994 Kelleher became an Advocate of the Royal Court of Jersey and in 2017 he was appointed President of the Law Society of Jersey. As the appeal approached, Calderon told Dally that ‘the Law Lords feel that they need to keep in with the doctors’. The barrister Diana Brahams believed that the Privy Council took the view that doctors are the best people to discipline other doctors. Dally observed that there is a close relationship between the GMC and the Privy Council (who hear appeals against GMC decisions) – they hand out honours to each other.

In one of Ann’s hearings, William Gage was the lead barrister who was engaged by Calderon. Ann didn’t take to Gage and told Neil Taylor QC – Counsel who was also advising – that she felt uncomfortable with him. She was told by Taylor that it wasn’t Gage’s job to make her feel at ease, he was there ‘to get you off’ and that he was good at getting clients off. Gage is now Sir William Gage. He became the presiding judge of the South Eastern Circuit, then a High Court judge in 1993 and then a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2004. Gage Chaired the Public Inquiry into the death of Baha Mousa.

After Dally lost her appeal, the MDU paid for the opinion of Anthony Lester QC, who specialised in European law, with a view to taking the case to the Court of Human Rights, although Dally didn’t end up following this course of action.

At one point the MDU instructed Anthony Johnston of Beachcrofts to act for Dally.

 

Dr David Marjot acted as an expert witness for Dally. Dally describes Marjot as a critic of the drugs dependency establishment who ran a DDU clinic himself. Dally stated that he was the only such doctor in London who was in such a position and that he too had suffered after ‘speaking out’. Marjot was one of the few doctors who held a heroin licence. Between 1976-93, he was consultant psychiatrist for the Regional Alcohol and DDU at Ealing. He was visiting consultant psychiatrist for Wormwood Scrubs, 1976-99 and locum forensic psychiatrist for Broadmoor, 1994-96. Yes, another one who stood and watched as Savile did his worst… In 2014 David Marjot wrote a very angry letter into the BMJ concerning the case of a surgeon who had been in front of the GMC for shouting and swearing at colleagues. Marjot had penned a blistering attack on the GMC, quoting the Francis Report into the Mid-Staffs scandal, reminding everyone that even in that case, the failings had been institutional rather than personal. Whilst I would agree with Marjot that staff working in the NHS can be seriously hampered by a foolish managerial regime in which an obsession with targets is pursued at all costs, that cannot always excuse what happens in the NHS and it didn’t excuse what happened at Mid-Staffs. By the way Marjot – when you were working at Broadmoor, the crazy regime of targets was not in place. But that didn’t stop Savile and others grossly abusing the patients – and it wasn’t targets that bought your silence on the matter.

After Dally was prevented from prescribing, a Dr Colin Brewer took over many of her patients. Dally described Brewer as a man who had ‘had a change of heart’ and had converted to her way of thinking. He certainly did. Brewer didn’t just open one clinic to prescribe for addicts on a private basis, he opened several – and then expanded rapidly. Brewer was a roaring success until 2006 when he was struck off by the GMC for inappropriate drug prescribing. His clinic – the Stapleford Addiction Clinic, based in Belgravia – was described as a ‘drugs grocery’ and his patients included Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty. A consequence of the ‘inappropriate prescribing’ which saw Brewer struck off was the death of a patient. The patient had been sent home with a DIY detox kit containing 16 different drugs, including a heroin substitute. Colin Brewer has found a new way of earning a few quid since he was struck off. He now carries out ‘assessments’ for Dignitas. The Daily Mail have taken an interest in Colin Brewer and revealed that he has ‘helped’ at least twelve people to die by saying the right things in his assessments for Dignitas. A lot of those people were not terminally ill. When challenged, Brewer said that because he was no longer on the Register ‘no-one can tell me what to do’. An undercover journalist posed as a thirty-five year old woman with mental health problems and Brewer was prepared to recommend her for the chop as well.

When asked about the activities of Colin Brewer, our esteemed DPP Alison Saunders stated that the CPS was less likely to prosecute doctors assisting in deaths of patients who were not under their direct care – critics say that Brewer exploited this.

 

So who were the Top Doctors who sat in judgement over Ann Dally and who found her wanting but didn’t actually put her out of business, even when she continued to prescribe controlled drugs after she was barred by the GMC? I have mentioned that one was Sir Henry Yellowlees.

Another was the President of the GMC at the time, Sir (later Lord) John Walton. Walton was a neurologist who held every big job in medicine. He was President of the BMA 1980-82; President of the GMC 1982-89; President of the Royal Society of Medicine 1984-86.  He was knighted in 1979 and after his distinguished stint at the GMC – during which all those very serious complaints about Dafydd were not acted upon, even the one that involved a death – Walton picked up his peerage in 1989. So how did this lethal old bastard climb to the top?

Walton qualified at Newcastle Medical School, when it was still part of Durham University. In 1959 he was appointed consultant neurologist at the University of Newcastle Hospitals and in 1968 he was awarded a Chair in neurology at Newcastle. Walton was a specialist in muscular dystrophy. In 1971 he became Dean of the Medicine at Newcastle, a post he retained until 1981. He also sat on various hospital management committees. In 1983 he was appointed Warden of Green College, Oxford.

Walton was Vice-President of the World Federation of Neurology in 1981 and then President, 1989-97. He was President of the Association for British Neurology, 1987-88.

Walton arrived in the Lords whilst the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill was passing through Parliament, which allowed experiments on embryos for up to 14 days after fertilisation. Walton supported the Bill and Lord Stallard (Jock Stallard, a former Labour MP) was so opposed to it that he tried to prevent Walton becoming Chair of the Medical Ethics Select Committee. Stallard failed in this – well Walton was a Top Doctor wasn’t he, of course he would be the best choice where ethics were concerned. Walton also remained loyal to his old medical school once he arrived in the Lords – he used his position to gain GMC approval for Newcastle’s development of a medical school in Malaysia and much more recently he secured Parliamentary approval for Newcastle’s work on mitochondrial research (that’s the really controversial work that a lot of people are very worried about). In 2014 Newcastle University opened the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre.

Walton remained a very influential figure in the north east and was made Freeman of the City of Newcastle.

I suspect that Walton occupying that Chair of the Ethics Committee may have caused a great deal of damage. As I am fairly certain did Walton himself for many years. Walton came from NEWCASTLE – Dr Neil Davies and Prof Bob Woods who colluded with the wrongdoing in north Wales were both working at Newcastle before they arrived to work in the mental health services in north Wales. The Cleveland Child Abuse Scandal happened on Walton’s old patch – which provided such a useful muddying of the waters where organised child sexual abuse was concerned just when some of us were trying to draw attention to the wrongdoing in north Wales.

There is one position that Walton held which is completely inconsistent with his whole career. Between 2012-15 he was President of the Association of the College of Occupational Therapists. Apart from Alison Taylor the Gwynedd social worker who was sacked by her boss Lucille Hughes – Dafydd’s mistress – back in the late 1980s, there has only ever been one whistleblower in Gwynedd. That was a senior occupational therapist at the Hergest Unit, who for years blew and blew and blew. Although he undoubtedly saved a few lives by actually looking after his patients, this man’s grave concerns were ignored. The small team of occupational therapists working with him were all excellent as well. The whistleblower was sent to Coventry by virtually the whole hospital and retired a few years ago – after he retired, every one of his colleagues was hounded out. This man was offered a job to build up occupational therapy as a discipline in the School of Healthcare Sciences at Bangor University but turned it down because of the bad practice that he knew was prevalent in that School. The job was instead taken by a Louise Ingham, who had previously worked as an occupational therapist for mental health patients in the community in Gwynedd. Who knows exactly how dangerous and corrupt the mental health services in north Wales are and who neglected her own patients shockingly – I witnessed one case of this myself.

So who on earth invited John Walton to preside over the occupational therapists at a national level?

One of the members of one of the GMC panels before whom Dally appeared was Dr Betty Tylden. Betty Tylden had worked under William Sargant at Tommy’s – as had Ann’s husband. Tylden’s expertise was in addiction – and child abuse, cults and mind control.

The hearing of the GMC into Dally’s conduct that occurred as a result of her continuing to prescribe controlled drugs after the GMC had barred her from doing this was Chaired by Professor Robert Duthie. Duthie was an orthopaedic surgeon from Oxford. In 1971 he had acted as an advisor to the DHSS. He was also a member of the Royal Commission on Civil Liability and Personal Injury. Duthie was President of the British Orthopaedic Association in 1984. So he’ll have known the corrupt Medical Ombudsman for Wales Professor Robert Owen, who concealed the wrongdoing of Dafydd et al in the late 1980s – Owen was Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Liverpool University.

On the panel alongside Robert Duthie was Professor Rhilip Rhodes, an obstetrician. Ann Dally had been friends with him when she worked in obstetrics at Tommy’s.

 

As for the ‘drugs dependency establishment’ whom Dally loathed and who opposed her, a leading light among them was Dr Thomas Bewley, whom I mentioned earlier – the man whom many years later admitted that none of them actually knew what they were doing.

Bewley sat on a lot of Committees, he particularly enjoyed doing that. He was the first sub-dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the second Dean, the fifth President, 1984-87 and a member of the Council until 1996.

Bewley had an interesting early career. He was from Dublin and qualified there – his was from a well-known family who founded a small Quaker hospital, Bloomfield and both his father and grandfather ran that. Bewley came to Britain as a young man and took up psychiatry but was repeatedly rejected for training at the Maudsley. He was finally accepted on his fourth application. Bewley stated that he didn’t want to train at Tommy’s because he feared being damaged by William Sargant. In the 1950s Bewley completed his MD thesis at the Maudsley on alcoholism. He then spent time working in psychoanalysis in the US. He returned to run Tooting Bec Hospital (the hospital which so appalled Ann Dally when she was young), where he became a consultant. Bewley went to Tooting Bec because ‘they took people who couldn’t get in anywhere’ – he had difficulty getting a job because he had left the Maudsley ‘prematurely’ and his qualifications were Irish.

Bewley began treating heroin addicts and published in the Lancet. He ‘knew little, but more than everyone else’. Despite this career which involved being almost unemployable and not knowing his arse from his elbow, in a 2007 interview with the British Journal of Psychiatry Bulletin, Thomas Bewley observed that ‘one of the advantages of having an index-linked psychiatrists pension is we can go to the opera as often as we like’. Whilst you ignore a nutter in north Wales who is a colleague of yours who participates in organised crime.

Thomas Bewley’s wife is Dame Beulah Bewley, an epidemiologist. Beulah Bewley was a member of the GMC for a number of years. In fact she was a member of the GMC when her husband reported Ann Dally to them. Beulah Bewley was a Woman In Medicine and even wrote a book about this after she retired. She had been the President of the Women’s Medical Federation on the GMC and was also the treasurer. Despite advertising her credentials as a Woman, Beulah never managed to reign in Dafydd during her time on the GMC as he shagged and sexually harassed his way around north Wales. Beulah boasts of having met many Top People during her career, rubbing shoulders with Royalty as well as Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor – yeh, well that makes sense, her husband ran a drugs and alcohol clinic.

Someone else who opposed Dally was Professor Robert Priest, honorary consultant at St Mary’s Hospital and one time Chairman of the BMA.

Dr Philip Connell was another Top Doctor with whom Dally clashed. Connell was the first person to identify amphetamine psychosis. Connell liked sitting on Committees even more than Thomas Bewley, Connell sat on just about everything possible, particularly in the field of addiction.

Connell was a Barts graduate who did his postgrad training at the Maudsley. In 1959 he was appointed consultant for developing a children’s and adolescent service at Newcastle General Hospital, in association with Durham University. Six years later he returned to the Maudsley as a consultant where he remained until his retirement in 1986. Connell was a member of Baroness Wootton’s Committee On The Use Of Cannabis; Chair of the Advisory Council On The Misuse of Drugs, 1982-88; Vice-President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; and a member of the GMC – the Preliminary Screener for Health Procedures. Connell will have known Dafydd then – Dafydd famously claimed to suffer from a ‘nervous illness’ which was used as the excuse when he did something really deranged which couldn’t be concealed in the usual manner.

In the Indie’s obituary of Connell, it was observed that he had ‘an addiction for power and influence in medical organisations, especially those which had an interface with the public and legal affairs’, that ‘his efforts to gain and utilise power were based on self-interest’, that he ‘could be quite boastful’, that he had a ‘tough and barbed exterior’ and that he ‘enjoyed mingling with the great and good’.

Obituaries usually highlight the nicest aspects of people, so I can only presume that Philip Connell was as obnoxious as they come.

Dr John Strang was someone else who did not approve of Ann Dally. Strang led the drug addiction group at the Maudsley for many years. Then he was the Director of the National Addiction Centre; the Head of the Addictions Dept at Kings College London and the Leader of the Addiction Clinical Academic Group of Kings Health Partners.

 

All these Top Doctors who opposed Ann Dally will have known that Dafydd was building up a drugs empire in north Wales. At one point in the 1980s this lot even held a conference in Llandudno, which was the heart of Dafydd’s drugs and nursing homes empire. So whilst they quaffed and supped, just down the road the residents of Holyrood House were being beaten to a pulp and throughout the region the paedophiles were busy.

 

There was one Top Doctor whom Dally spoke of approvingly, a man who Knows How It Is because he was an ex-addict himself. That man was Dr Brian Wells.

Life has certainly been good to Dr Brian Wells. He now runs a company called Leading Healthcare International (LHCI), which describes itself as ‘bespoke’, ‘discreet’ and operating by ‘word of mouth’. He set up LHCI in 2002 to provide ‘facilities for patients and families on a global basis’. Brian Wells is also listed at three different London facilities on the BUPA website. But Brian has another website as well – this advertises The Cabin at Chiang Mai in Thailand. Wells is Group Medical Director at The Cabin Addiction Services Group. He explains that his career has been ‘varied’ and that among other things he was the ‘tour doctor’ to a ‘number of well-known artists in the entertainment industry’. The Cabin’s contact details are in Thailand and the website advertises counsellors, mindfulness and meditation. Wells claims that The Cabin uses CBT, the 12 Steps programme and Mindfulness. The Cabin has a ‘partner office’ in the Netherlands and outpatient centres across the globe, including in Bangkok. Although The Cabin is principally concerned with drugs and alcohol addiction, the accompanying blog explains that The Cabin now offers help for porn addiction at the Chiang Mai centre. Presumably Dr Brian will arrange for a few ladyboys to pop over from the Bangkok branch to assist with the therapy.

Brian Wells actually has the letters FRCPsych after his name. He has the official stamp of approval.

Brian was the Medical Director of the main refugee camp during the Cambodian relief operation of 1979/80. He then returned to the UK. He worked at the Maudsley as a consultant psych and set up the largest NHS substance misuse service in the UK, including SHARP, a ‘charitable intensive day-programme’, as well as the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour at Imperial. Dr Wells was also the Medical Director of the then Riverside Mental Health NHS Trust, Central London.

Wells has been clinical advisor to a number of international organisations, including health insurance companies and the GMC.

So has anyone rung the drug squad yet to discuss Dr Wells’s business activities with them?

 

I need to mention one more Top Doctor who receives a passing reference in Dally’s book. That is Dr Dorothy Black, who worked in the Drugs Dept of the DHSS in the 1980s. Like Dr Pamela Mason, a Top Doctor in the employment of Thatcher’s Gov’t whilst this chaos was happening. Dorothy Black’s name cropped up in 1984, in the wake of a truly damning report into Kendall House, a home for ‘girls with problems’ which was run by the Church of England’s Council for Social Responsibility in Gravesend, Kent. The ‘girls with problems’ – what’s the betting that the problem that most of them had was that they had been molested and wouldn’t shut up about it? – were being forcibly injected by a Top Doctor – describing himself interestingly as a ‘psychotherapist’ –  with huge doses of anti-psychotics, although none of the girls had diagnoses of mental illness. A TV programme was screened about the Kendall House in 1980 but no action at all was taken. It was only in the wake of the report in 1984 that Dorothy Black felt obliged to comment, stating that she was ‘extremely concerned’ about the ‘storage, monitoring and administration of psychotropic drugs’. In 1986 Kendall House was closed. Many of the girls who were resident there later gave birth to babies with various disabilities – the incidence of birth defects among these babies was so high that many believed there was a link to the huge doses of drugs that the mothers of the babies had been given when they were teenagers at Kendall House.

This sort of mistreatment of young people who dared allege that they had been sexually abused was absolutely routine throughout the 70, 80s and 90s. Everybody who worked in the field knew that it was going on – and huge numbers of the people involved are now employed at the highest levels in the UK’s health and welfare services.

 

This post has described the idiocy, the lack of integrity and the craziness of many of the people occupying senior positions in the mental health services in the 1980s.

As for the confusion and dilemmas involved in how to approach the problem that was Ann Dally, with the MDU, the GMC, Top Doctors and various lawyers and the Law Lords all bouncing the problem back and forth between them – I rather suspect that this was a result of Princess Margaret’s dealer being placed under investigation by the police. No-one knew what the hell to do so everyone started hitting each other – no wonder Dally wasn’t ever actually struck off. I also suspect that there was corruption in the Home Office Drugs Branch and the DHSS – it would explain why Dally was actively friends with some of the Inspectors and why John Lawson the Senior Inspector who was a soft touch was transferred to cover Wales. Anyone for a War On Drugs?

Thoughout it all, Dafydd conducted business as normal. Supplying boys to the Westminster Paedophile Ring leaves one even more untouchable than being the purveyor of recreational chemicals to the Royals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Round Up, 6 October 2017

The Betsi has been in the news again this week and of course it has not been for any positive reasons. Both BBC News Wales and Daily Post Online have reported on the case of ‘Mr D’, who died at Ysbyty Gwynedd after receiving ‘substandard care’.

Mr D was admitted to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Dec 2014 with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and was diagnosed with pneumonia and respiratory failure. The day following his admission, his daughter Ms C was told that he was improving and that discharge plans were being discussed. Yet Mr D’s condition worsened and on Christmas Day, four days after he had been admitted, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died.

In Feb 2015, Ms C – ironically a member of staff in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Complaints Dept – made a formal complaint to the Betsi. She waited almost a year for a response but having still heard nothing from the Betsi about her complaint, she enlisted the help of a Community Health Council advocate. Nineteen months after her complaint was lodged the Board finally replied and although they admitted that there was a failure to carry out observations on Mr D, they stated that this did not affect the ‘sad outcome’.

This complaint has ended up in the hands of the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett, who has absolutely slammed the Betsi. Mr Bennett has highlighted ‘serious failings’ and ‘missed opportunities’ – such as the failure to move Mr D to a high dependency unit – which led to Mr D’s death. Mr Bennett also mentioned that an inaccurate record was made of the cause of Mr D’s death and that there was a failure to carry out a serious incident investigation. Mr Bennett stated that the Betsi had been ‘disingenuous’ and had refused to admit that their failings led to Mr D’s death. Mr Bennett’s report also revealed that the cause of Mr D’s death had actually been acute kidney injury secondary to sepsis, which was never treated. Furthermore the staff involved in Mr D’s ‘care’ made inappropriate comments about the complaint to a member of Mr D’s family – the Board failed to follow up this matter properly.

So the Betsi failed to diagnose a serious illness, they failed to provide the appropriate care, a completely avoidable death occurred, they then failed to respond to a complaint about that death for more than a year and six months, when they did respond they lied, they also failed to follow their own complaints procedure, a member of their staff then spoke ‘inappropriately’ and breached confidentiality and the Betsi failed to deal with that matter properly as well.

This is pretty much par for the course where the north Wales NHS is concerned and it has been for decades.

Gill Harris, Director of Nursing at the Betsi, has spouted the usual load of meaningless tripe about how sorry they are, how they are seeking to improve and how they are improving their ‘concerns procedures’ (it is a standing joke in north Wales that the Betsi never refers to a ‘complaint’, it is always a ‘concern’).

The Betsi have been told repeatedly to improve their ‘clinical standards’ and to improve their response to complaints. The north Wales NHS was told this repeatedly in its previous incarnation in the form of the NHS Trusts that preceded the Betsi. They were supposedly ‘prioritising sepsis’ nearly ten years ago – yet someone else has now died of it after the Betsi failed to treat it and in this instance the Betsi simply pretended that the patient had died of something else.

Is anybody really surprised that this has happened AGAIN? There are members of the Betsi Board such as the Chair Peter Higson and Director of Workforce Martin Jones who have been employed in the NHS in north Wales for decades and they have ALWAYS concealed gross negligence and misconduct on the part of clinical staff, lied about doing so and then failed to investigate complaints properly – it is their business model. Did anyone expect them to conduct themselves any differently just because the organisation was given a new name?

Much as I sympathise with Ms C after what she has been through, I would like to ask her why, as a member of the complaints team at the Betsi, that she hasn’t previously blown the whistle when she witnessed this happening to other people – because she will have. Perhaps Ms C could also tell me when the very serious complaint that I made about the Betsi last year will be investigated because to date it has not been. I was lied to – and about – as well and when I pointed this out it was ignored. My complaint remains unresolved – but I will not be alone, there’ll be hundreds of us in that position.

 

The Daily Post has reported on the inquest in Ruthin of Susan England, a 63 year old teacher who died in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd of an accidental overdose of dihydrocodeine. Ms England took the accidental overdose after trying to ease the pain from her hip whilst she waited for an operation. The Coroner Nicola Jones stated that this death illustrates the ‘perils of self-medicating’. It also illustrates the perils of having to rely upon the north Wales NHS – you are left in agony and I bet that there was no advice or help given to Ms England concerning pain management. She’ll have been left to deal with it herself. Nicola Jones told Susan England’s family that she realised that they’d been through ’48 hours of absolute hell’. Ms England herself had probably been through many months of hell, firstly trying to get an appointment regarding her hip problems, then being left to deal with the agony alone on a very long waiting list. I have two friends who both recently had orthopaedic problems and who live in north Wales. They were both told that they could skip a very long waiting list if they agreed to pay for private treatment – from exactly the same consultant who would perform the operation if they had it on the NHS. One friend is ideologically against private care and stated that as a matter of principal he’d wait for NHS treatment. Within two months of being offered the chance to skip the waiting list, he was in agony – which his greedy, grasping ‘NHS consultant’ knew that he’d be. There was no advice offered regarding pain control – just another offer to skip the waiting list if my friend stumped up for private treatment. The consultant treating him – or more accurately doing all he can not to treat him unless it is on a private basis – will be earning almost £100k pa for his NHS work. NHS work that involves leaving people in agony on a very long waiting list whilst you wait for them to crumble and agree to book in for private care at Spire Wrexham or some such similar establishment.

Nicola Jones observed that Ms England was ‘a healthy woman apart from her hip pain’ and returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’.

 

Nicola Jones also recently carried out the inquest on Mathew Gareth Jones, a 34 year old man with an alcohol problem. Nicola Jones stated at the inquest that Mathew’s death was ‘alcohol related’ and that ‘a lot of work was done by health professionals to try to help him’. Mathew’s parents disagreed with this statement so strongly that they spoke to the Daily Post. They maintained that Mathew should have had more help for his alcohol problem and that both Denbighshire County Council’s housing dept and the Ablett Unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd let him down badly. They explained that Mathew had been in and out of the Ablett Unit for two years, that he was homeless during this time and that when he was housed, it was in a B&B above a pub in Rhyl.

People unacquainted with the ‘help’ on offer to mental health patients in north Wales may believe that Mathew’s parents are unfairly blaming other agencies for their son’s problems. I doubt that they are. For years when I lived in north Wales I watched the most ludicrous – indeed dangerous – decisions taken about vulnerable people. I knew one alcoholic who was housed immediately next door to one pub in Bethesda and just a few doors away from two other pubs. I knew another alcoholic who was housed in substandard accommodation next door to an off licence. Both these men drank themselves to death within months of being ‘housed’. I knew a vulnerable man with mental health problems who was housed in the same block of flats as big time drug dealers – they intimidated him out of his flat (he fled in terror) and he was then refused further accommodation after the Arfon Community Mental Health Team declared that he had ‘made himself homeless’. Another vulnerable mental health patient was housed in the ‘hard to let’ part of the toughest council estate in Gwynedd. She had a brick thrown through her window within three weeks of moving in. I could cite many more examples, it was constant. Furthermore even these people had only been housed after spending years begging for help to find accommodation – most mental health patients requesting such help were just told to take a running jump. The degree of neglect was scandalous. Three years ago I discovered that there was a team of five or six social workers employed by Gwynedd County Council whose remit it was to find homeless people accommodation – and two of those social workers were supposedly dedicated to housing disabled people. I did not know such a team even existed and no-one else that I knew had ever heard of them either – yet I knew numerous disabled homeless people in Gwynedd who had begged for help with housing and were all simply told ‘we don’t have any housing’.

 

So I was not really that surprised to discover that Nick Bennett the Public Services Ombudsman was reported in the Daily Post as saying that the number of health complaints has doubled in a decade and that he is seeing a rise in the number of complaints against the Betsi. Last year Mr Bennett published six public interest reports – three of them concerned the Betsi, all of them involved Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. This should not surprise anyone either. Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has been in a dreadful state for many years and its serious problems were simply denied and concealed by the previous Chief Exec of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust, Gren Kershaw (see post ‘How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?’). The director of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd at present is Craig Barton. Barton was formerly a senior manager of the North West Wales NHS Trust and at one point he was appointed to ‘modernise’ the Hergest Unit. When he was asked by two people known to me how he was going to do this – two people who knew all about the catalogue of deaths and abuse at the Hergest Unit – Barton told them that he wasn’t even going to try, because the then manager of the Hergest Unit Alun Davies was alright if he liked you, but if he took a dislike to you ‘your feet won’t touch the floor’. Davies and Barton remained as ‘managers’ of the Hergest Unit and patients continued to die. I was told that Craig Barton was the rather daft son of someone senior in the North Wales Probation Service – a ‘service’ which was corrupt as fuck and a great friend to the North Wales Paedophile Ring. Craig did rather badly in his degree at Bangor and of course ended up in the north Wales NHS. A career path that has been followed by a great many fuckwits local to north Wales, including Martin Jones.

Nick Bennett has stated that the Betsi needs a ‘culture change’ but this will not be easy. That Nick is because it is run by the likes of Higson, Barton and Martin Jones and no-one is ever sacked no matter how badly they conduct themselves or how many people die. Nick himself is from Anglesey and is now based in Cardiff. So Nick’s pretty much part of the same crowd then – Nick’s pedigree was discussed recently on the Welsh political blog Jac O The North. Nick Bennett told the Daily Post that his ‘most experienced and senior investigators’ were now working with the Betsi. Which will be a complete waste of time, because they will be the very same people who have spent their whole careers in the Welsh NHS or Welsh civil service and it is they who have failed to deal with the problems previously and they certainly won’t now. Most of them probably know Higson by name and may have even worked for him/with him when he was Chief Exec of Health Inspectorate Wales – which consistently failed to investigate serious complaints against the north Wales NHS… Higson’s sister is Dr Ruth Hussey, the former Chief Medical Officer for Wales… I could go on for ever in this vein, but the corrupt incestuous circle involves so many people that readers will just have to use the search facility on this blog for further details.

 

BBC News Wales reported a crisis in home care on Anglesey. Gwawr Rowlands who has Rett syndrome – a genetic condition which affects brain development and can result in severe mental and physical disabilities – has been receiving a care package funded by the Betsi but organised by Anglesey County Council’s social services. The package includes help with washing and changing. On 25 Sept Gwawr’s mother received a phone call telling her that Gwawr’s carers would no longer be providing care after 29 Sept – so Gwawr and her family received a grand total of five days notice that her care was going to stop.

The company contracted to provide care for Gwawr was Abacare. Abacare maintain that they made Gwawr’s social worker aware that they were struggling to provide the care package ten days previously and that they suggested that Anglesey County Council find another agency to provide care. It transpires that Abacare has had problems fulfilling other care packages for clients on Anglesey and the company has stated that it has been using care workers from Bangor and Caernarfon which is not sustainable. Abacare maintains that they have offered to work with the Council’s in-house dept or other agencies in order to find care for Gwawr ‘although this is against the company policy’. They have had no response from Anglesey County Council. Gwawr’s mother maintains that she has had no explanation from Abacare regarding their decision to suddenly withdraw her daughter’s care.

I suspect that there are many other cases like Gwawr’s, but Gwawr’s has come to light because Gwawr’s mother rang a radio programme about her case. The care system in north Wales has been doing things like this for years. There are scores of ‘care agencies’ that have now been contracted to provide a few hours of ‘care’ daily to clients in their own homes (Gwawr’s care package consisted of two hours daily). I have friends who have worked for these agencies and as long ago as 2005 it was a shambles. North Wales is a rural area and carers – being paid the minimum wage and no travelling expenses – were being despatched many miles to provide one hours ‘care’. I knew someone who lived in Cricieth who was given clients in Rhyl – she was expected to drive to Rhyl and back for one or two hours work. The agency my friend worked for was Medicare – it was scandalous. The carers were casual workers – no-one was offered any training and many of the staff were young people who weren’t able to shoulder the responsibilities given to them. Untrained unqualified carers were told to administer prescribed, essential medication. My friend discovered that the only source of ‘support’ or ‘advice’ was telephone contact with a ‘manager’ – who didn’t even have a nursing qualification. On a number of occasions my friend arrived at clients’ homes to find that the carer responsible for the previous ‘shift’ hadn’t bothered to turn up and hadn’t bothered to tell the ‘manager’ that they were going to make their call. My friend called on one bedbound elderly man at 6pm to find that his morning carer hadn’t turned up, neither had his lunch-time carer. He had not been out of bed, taken to the loo, given any food or drink or his medication since the evening before. My friend left Medicare after this, stating that people’s lives were being put at risk and that she wasn’t prepared to be part of it.

I know one person who was offered a carers job last year with an agency responsible for home care in Wrexham – commissioned by Wrexham County  Borough Council – without references being taken up or a DBS check being carried out. The job involved handling the money and medication of housebound elderly people. The agency involved was a company based in Nottingham who’s ‘office’ in Wrexham was a portacabin on an industrial estate. During the ‘interview’, confidential clients’ files were scattered around the room with clients’ names and details visible.

Most of these ‘care agencies’ are so shambolic and pay staff so badly and treat them so unreasonably that no-one wants to work for them – that is why they are constantly short of ‘carers’, even in a region like north Wales which has a high rate of unemployment. The Councils contracting them are equally as sloppy – they know damn well how these agencies conduct themselves. Both Anglesey and Wrexham Social Services have a long and glorious history of serious abuse in their children’s services. I suspect that Gwawr’s ‘care’ was the responsibility of Anglesey’s Communities section – the head was (and may still be) the hopeless Gwenan Carrington, previously Director of Gwynedd Social Services. After her position there became untenable following a series of well-publicised disasters, dear old Gwenan made a sideways move into Anglesey County Council… Gwenan’s colleagues in Anglesey Social Services are no better – they have failed to deliver any ‘services’ for years, the residents of Anglesey with relatives in need of services are tearing their hair out. There has also been a long-standing problem of the bullying of social work students who have dared raise concerns at the bad practice that they witnessed on placement.

Gwawr has Rett syndrome. I think that everyone involved in providing the ‘care packages’ that she and other disabled people depend upon must have Rhett syndrome, named after Rhett Butler, the famous character in Gone With The Wind – definitely a case of ‘frankly my dear I don’t give a damn’…

 

Wrexham Maelor psychiatrist Thomas Jenkins who was caught using the gay dating app Grindr to request a 13 year old boy to have sex with him without a condom by an undercover police officer has been ordered to attend a sex offenders programme for three years and has been placed on the sex offenders register for five years. Jenkins qualified at Cardiff University two years ago and was in the second year of the foundation course in psychiatry at Wrexham Maelor when he was arrested. That’ll be the course that Peter Higson, Martin Jones and the rest of the Betsi Board are so proud of. I wonder if Higson will be mentioning this particular triumph at the next Board meeting? Incredibly the GMC have actually struck Jenkins off. Can they possibly be clamping down on criminal medical practitioners? Jenkins was told by the GMC that he’d brought the profession into disrepute (unlike dear old Dafydd, who is of course a fine upstanding member of that profession) and that his ‘fellow doctors would fins his actions deplorable’. Even if they did, experience demonstrates that they would still lie on his behalf, refuse to investigate complaints against him and continue to refer patients to him. And the GMC would not be above forging documents in order to protect him either.

 

The Welsh Gov’t have been boasting about providing midwives in Wales with special training to care for premature babies who are born before 24 weeks and will not survive. A young mother from Cardiff was so distressed at the treatment of her own premature baby – who was born at 22 weeks and died just after an hour later after midwives had refused to touch or handle the baby at all – that she lobbied Health Boards and Welsh Gov’t Ministers for dignified treatment of premature babies who will not survive. Sadly what this young mother and the Welsh Gov’t will not be taking into account is, once more, the bad behaviour of Angels and Top Doctors in the face of ‘training’. In the early 1990s St George’s Hospital Medical School was considered to have had an excellent special care baby unit, so a lot of mothers in the region who were considered to be at risk of delivering premature babies opted to give birth at St George’s. I have mentioned previously on this blog that a lot of the midwives there were very good. Even in 1990, it was routine at St George’s for the very premature babies who died to be dressed up in baby clothes and put in a Moses basket and to be given back to their mother for a few hours. Most of the midwives did treat the bodies of the babies who died with respect. But there was one midwife there who used to entertain herself by playing with the dead babies, putting their limbs in grotesque positions and having a good laugh whilst she was doing it. As ever, she was not challenged although everybody knew what she was doing. And no, her conduct would not have improved if she’d been paid more…

 

Mark Drakeford, the Finance Minister (formerly the Health Minister, formerly Rhodri Morgan’s special advisor on Health Policy, formerly a social worker in Dyfed where a paedophile ring existed), has announced that he can only give the Welsh NHS £450 million because of austerity imposed by Westminster. I have no time for the Westminster Gov’t and they undoubtedly do great damage to Wales, but Drakeford is not helping matters by giving millions of pounds to people whom he knows are institutionally corrupt and telling them how sorry he is that he cannot give them more. Wales needs that money very badly Drakeford and you are giving it to crooks – and you have known for years that they are crooks, but you ignored the people (like me) who sent you the evidence. Tawel Fan blew up in your face whilst you were Health Minister and it has not yet been resolved – the worst mental healthcare scandal that there had ever been in the UK happened at the Ablett Unit in the Betsi and not one abusive member of staff was disciplined. Instead the nurse who blew the whistle on it all was sacked.

 

I despair of Drakeford et al, I don’t think they that have any idea of the public anger that there is in north Wales regarding the shite public services which are gobbling up millions whilst they exterminate vulnerable people – and every time there’s another scandal the dickwit Drakeford tells everyone that it’s because the paedophiles’ friends have not been given enough money. The troughing bastards are the most highly paid people in north Wales, the Martins and the Craigs with their third class degrees from Bangor, Aber and Cardiff are all pulling in well over £100k pa. (Martin is trousering about £150k now.)

 

NHS England continues to experience traumas, as reported by the Mail Online.

The Warrington and Halton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cheshire has stopped spinal surgery after four serious incidents, two of them involving patient deaths.

Brioney Woolfe, a former midwifery assistant, has appeared in Colchester Magistrates Court after accessing the data of 29 patients – not just midwifery patients either – between Dec 2014 and May 2016. Woolfe’s activities only came to light after one patient discovered that details of an illness that he wanted kept private had become public knowledge. I am staggered that Woolfe has even been disciplined for this, yet alone has ended up in Court. This conduct is de rigueur, both in the NHS and social services. Confidentiality is flouted constantly, patients and clients are the subject of casual gossip and patients’ records and data are freely passed around to just about anyone, including non-clinical members of staff. It is endemic. There is no confidentiality in the UK NHS or social services – I have given numerous examples on this blog and some of my readers have left comments on the blog about serious breaches of confidentiality involving them.

 

A major scandal involving IVF Hammersmith, the fertility clinic that Blair’s mate Lord Robert Winston (who has featured on this blog previously) established, has hit the media today. A man who cannot be named for legal reasons sued Hammersmith after his former partner forged his signature on a consent form and gave birth to a daughter after becoming pregnant using an embryo frozen several years previously. The couple had been patients at IVF Hammersmith, had one son as a result of their treatment there but then had a very acrimonious relationship break-up. Hammersmith were not told about this and several years later the female partner approached Hammersmith for further treatment and was implanted with an embryo fertilised by her previous partner after forging his signature of a consent form – he knew nothing about this until she texted him when she was three months pregnant. He had made it known that he did not want any more children. The man concerned has given a media interview explaining his distress at now being the father of a little girl whom he cares for but did not actually want – the confusion that has resulted from it is evident in his comments.

The father of the little girl sued Hammersmith for negligence and the anticipated cost of bringing up the child. The details of his claim are somewhat laughable to those of us who are not rich enough to be patients of IVF Hammersmith – it included the cost of her private schooling, ski-ing trips, gap year, wedding and the cost of an expensive car to drive her to school. However, it is people who consider such things to be necessities whom IVF Hammersmith targets as patients. He has lost his claim, but the case is going to the Court of Appeal.

IVF Hammersmith is trying to wash its hands of the whole matter, maintaining that they take patients on trust and cannot know if they are criminals. Yet IVF Hammersmith would seem to have been very lax indeed here – there has always been much emphasis in fertility treatment on seeing both partners if a couple are requesting treatment, on ensuring that no-one is being coerced into fertility treatment, on ensuring that the relationship is stable etc. How did Hammersmith manage to treat a woman when she reappeared several years after a previous course of treatment with nothing more than her partner’s (alleged) signature on a consent form? My post ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred – Particularly In Scotland’) details some of what I knew to be going on in fertility clinics in London in the 80s and 90s. Robert Winston at Hammersmith was always considered above and beyond such unscrupulous practices, but he did know what was happening in his colleagues’ clinics. I have also described how Winston employed a gynaecologist at Hammersmith who was a serious sexual harasser but simply passed him on to another hospital.

The man who tried to sue Hammersmith commented upon the ‘unacceptable conduct of fertility clinics which have grown into multimillion pound businesses on the back of sharp practices’. He is quite right, its been happening for years and is well known in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology. As with all branches of medicine, no-one has been prepared to speak out about the way business is being conducted. Despite all the talk of ensuring that patients are in a position to give a child a stable, caring home, the reality is that for many of those clinics if you come up with the dosh you will be treated. Furthermore you will be encouraged to part with large quantities of dosh even if there is very little chance of you becoming pregnant and some highly questionable procedures will be flogged to you.

The man in the Hammersmith case lost in court because although it was accepted that his former partner had forged his signature and Hammersmith were condemned for being so sloppy in their procedures, it is policy that damages for negligence cannot be awarded in the event of the birth of a healthy child.

So once more the Top Doctors are off scot free leaving a big mess in their wake.

So who is responsible for regulating the Top Doctors in question? It is the ‘independent regulator’, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), as featured on this blog previously – whose failings have now been described as ‘catastrophic’. The thing that has always struck me about the leading lights at the HFEA is that none of them are doctors or scientists, so they are not even in a position to understand the science behind the business that they are supposed to be regulating. The folk involved with the HFEA are essentially elitist public figures who are professional busybodies – they jump from being Chair of one quango to another and then lead an Oxbridge College or two until they arrive at their final destination in the Lords.

Baroness Mary Warnock was the pioneer, she Chaired the Inquiry back in the early 80s which led to the establishment of the HFEA. Mary Warnock was originally a girls’ schoolteacher along the lines of the Malory Towers model and then became an Oxford academic – her field is philosophy. Mary Warnock was regularly wheeled out in the media to offer her opinion on the Big Questions, although things went a little pear shaped some years ago when she pronounced herself to be so in favour of euthanasia for the elderly that she was about to volunteer for it. There was quite a fuss with her family going public on the fact that they really didn’t want to wave her off to Dignitas and since then Mary Warnock has kept a low profile. But it was fairly obvious back in the 80s that Warnock was quite out of her depth at being given the responsibility to grapple with a very new, little understood, fast developing and highly experimental branch of the biomedical sciences. Basically she knew bugger all about it.

Successive Chairs of the HFEA have been variations on Mary Warnock. They have included Lord Richard Harries (an Army Officer and a bishop);  Lisa Jardine (daughter of Jacob Bronowski, historian and Radio 4 regular); the awful Baroness Ruth Deech (lawyer, formerly of the BBC Governors, Oxford academic); Dame Suzi Leather (who has Chaired every quango going as detailed on this blog some months ago); Shirley Harrison (Sunday Times journo, NUJ member, Chair of the South Yorkshire Probation Board, member of Sheffield Council, Labour Party member, also involved with Cancer Research UK); Walter Merricks (lawyer, inaugural director of Camden Community Law Centre, founding Chair of the Office of Health Professions Adjudicator, Chair of the Trustees of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges); Sir Colin Campbell (lawyer, former VC of the University of Nottingham 1988-2008 who just prior to his retirement accepted a 90% pay rise making him the highest paid VC in the UK, he proposed the privatisation of universities and accepted a £3.8 million endowment from British American Tobacco to fund an International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at Nottingham University Business School which caused resignations, the exodus of a research team and the withdrawal of research funding from Cancer Research UK). The current Chair is Sally Cheshire, a corporate accountant lately of Deloitte.

With this lot at the helm are we surprised that there have been ‘catastrophic failings’ at the HFEA? Readers will have realised from the details provided that a few of the above will know what Top Doctors get up to – but they are certainly never going to admit it. Lisa Jardine almost got around to admitting how questionable the whole fertility business is after she stepped down from her role as Chair of the HFEA. She stated in an interview with the Indie that ‘as a communicator’ she regretted that she had not been able to publicise how traumatised many patients were by fertility treatment or for how many people it was unsuccessful. In the same interview Jardine also admitted that a mixed race baby had been born to a black couple. So how was it that ‘as a communicator’ Jardine didn’t manage to spit all this out whilst she was still Chair? She had her own slot of Radio 4 in which she mouthed off every weekend, so who or what was keeping her quiet? The Coalition Gov’t wanted to abolish the HFEA in their ‘bonfire of the quangos’. Jardine somehow stopped them – so she managed to communicate something then.

The lawyer acting for Hammersmith was James Lawford Davies, a partner at Hempsons. The Hempsons who act for the MDU, who so helpfully supplied Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) with lawyers and barristers who attempted to imprison me – although I now have copies of documents demonstrating that Hempsons knew that I had not done what I was accused of and that Francis was perjuring himself.

So what of the people of IVF Hammersmith itself? The person wheeled out to make the ‘I Know Nuzzing’ comments to the press was Jude Fleming, their Chief Operating Officer. Now I think that someone at Hammersmith really should have taken a closer look at Jude’s CV before they gave her that job. My suspicion was aroused after reading Jude’s Linked In profile – it would not have looked amiss on the university application of a rather weak A level student who couldn’t think of anything original to say about themselves. Jude explains that she is an active person who is interested in what she does and has worked very hard in educational and sporting activities since she was 11. Incredibly enough, until just over ten years ago, Jude’s employment was as a bookings clerk and a waitress and then as a ski-instructor at Glasgow Ski and Snowboard Centre. Many people of course have worked as waitresses and ski-instructors, but somehow Jude went directly from that to managing a fertility clinic – namely GCRM Fertility Clinic in Glasgow. Yet googling GCRM Fertility Clinic doesn’t reveal what one normally thinks of as a fertility clinic. GCRM is situated on the business park, just next to the M8, around the corner from the Volvo Truck and Bus Centre. It is certainly a most unusual setting for a fertility clinic and the online info is a bit odd as well. There are no details of the doctors working at this ‘clinic’, just a notice explaining that if you’re a patient who needs advice out of hours you’ve got to ring the emergency services because doctors are only available during clinic hours. It doesn’t sound anything like any fertility clinic that I’ve ever come across and I suspect that it might simply be a referral centre to doctors who are actually based elsewhere. Jude worked around the corner from the Volvo Truck Centre for eight years and then landed a job as manager of the Oxford Fertility Unit in 2015. I presume that she is a recent arrival at IVF Hammersmith.

What about the Clinic Directors at IVF Hammersmith? Well now that dear old Robert Winston has joined the ranks of those who slumber on the benches in the Lords in return for £300/day, the Directors at Hammersmith are Stuart Lavary and Geoffrey Trew.

Stuart Lavary is a Consultant at Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte Hospitals and also runs a private practice at Hammersmith Hospital, Harley Street and Marylebone. Nice little earner, NHS consultancy and plenty of private work as well. Stuart is the HFEA ‘person responsible’ for IVF Hammersmith – so the business of the forged signature was his domain then. Lavary is an honorary senior lecturer at the den of bad practice/research fraud that is Imperial College (see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’) and trained at the John Radcliffe, Oxford.

Geoffrey Trew is also a Consultant at Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte’s – he qualified at St George’s in 1984! He’ll have witnessed much the same madness that I did then. And he’ll have been there when Professor Oliver Brooke who was later jailed for the possession of huge amounts of child porn worked at St George’s as a paediatrician. Trew has ‘an international referral base and has appeared for the last three years in the Tatler’s list of Best Private Doctors’. Which just about sums it up – never mind The Lancet or Nature, IVF Hammersmith comes highly recommended by fucking Tatler.

 

Finally a conundrum from NHS England. A few days ago I heard Dr Sarah Wollaston, GP and Tory MP, interviewed on Radio 4 about Boris’s dreadful behaviour. Something clicked – why hasn’t Theresa May appointed Sarah Wollaston as Health Minister? She is very well thought of even by people who are not Conservatives, she is very popular in her constituency in Devon, she is indeed a Top Doctor but doesn’t seem to be a pompous demanding greedy one – she seems to be the real article – and she actually KNOWS about medicine and healthcare. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about Sarah Wollaston – she is capable, respectful, well-informed and doesn’t spout rubbish. Furthermore unlike other women in politics Sarah Wollaston doesn’t feel the need to bollock on about being a strong woman or obsess over her clothes. What on earth is Jeremy Hunt still doing in his job? In fact if I were the Tory Party I’d be asking Dr Wollaston if she’d like to be the next leader – they are going to be looking for one soon but all they can do is scream ‘ooh it has to be Boris’. But on second thoughts – a pleasant, intelligent, capable woman who knows what she is doing or an offensive dangerously irresponsible idiot with a track record of abusing and exploiting people? Of course they’ll choose Boris. Frankly I’m surprised that anyone listens to Dr Wollaston at all – she hasn’t been highly recommended by The Tatler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Silence Of The Welsh Lambs

It was reported a few days ago that the Director of the film ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ has died. I’ve never seen the whole film, only short clips from it, but I think that the story features a gruesome psychiatrist who is also a cannibal. When this film was the subject of much commentary after it’s release, I was a patient at the Hergest Unit, seeing Dr X. Dr X was the psychiatrist who unbeknown to me was doing some terrible things behind the scenes, both to me and other patients – interestingly enough Dr X really loved ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ and used to wax lyrical about the mad psychiatrist character. However at least Hannibal Lecter or whatever he was called was fictional – Dr X, his colleagues and their victims were all very real.

I have detailed in previous posts how Dr X advised psychiatrists from London to consult one Lucille Hughes for evidence of my ‘dangerousness’, Lucille Hughes being the Director of Gwynedd Social Services who was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services but failing to act (I have never met Lucille Hughes, which makes Dr X’s advice to Nigel Eastman and Robin Jacobson even more sinister.) My posts ‘More On Those Prisons For Folk Who Dared Complain’ and ‘Further Information On Garth Angharad Hospital’ describes how a facility in Dolgellau for ‘mentally abnormal offenders’, Garth Angharad – which was owned and managed by a man who also owned residential schools and children’s homes where sexual abuse and cruelty were alleged to have been happening – was used to house some of the people who had complained about being sexually abused in children’s homes in north Wales and how an attempt to close this place down in 1992 was met with an Early Day Motion signed by Elfyn Llwyd and nine other MPs, demanding that this valuable facility remain open. I mentioned that this Early Day Motion was tabled in May 1992, just one month after a dreadful fire in a building in Brighton took place, which killed a number of former residents of north Wales children’s homes and their associates. Now for a bit more on that fire.

In April 1992 a small party was being held in a flat in a building in Brighton. Two men at the party had both been residents of Bryn Alyn, a notorious children’s home in north Wales, one of a complex of children’s homes owned by the notorious John Allen, who was later imprisoned for sexually abusing children in care in north Wales. Some reports allege that John Allen had arranged to meet the party goers at the flat but didn’t turn up. The party goers were well-known among Brighton’s gay community and there were allegations that they were involved in under-age sex/porn/drugs and had knowledge of liaisons with politicians. There seems to have been a great deal of confusion regarding who owned the building in which the fire took place. The flat had no fire escape, despite the local council wanting to contact the owner to recommend that one was installed. It transpired that the freehold of the building was owned by a company registered in the British Virgin Islands and because of it’s offshore status no-one was able to find out the names of the company directors. There were rumours that the notorious property developer Nicholas Hoogstraten leased the building but at the inquest into the five deaths, the East Sussex coroner, Dr Donald Gooding, refused to call Hoogstraten as a witness. (The families of some of the dead walked out of the inquest as a result and later applied for a judicial review of the inquest. At that hearing, Justice Latham ruled that there was a case for a judicial review on the basis that Gooding had acted ‘unreasonably and unlawfully’ in refusing to call Hoogstraten.) Although the inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing, there was much confusion about many things. A man called Trevor Carrington had allegedly confessed to starting the fire as a ‘prank’. It was alleged that in his confession he stated that he had set fire to a settee in the entrance hall. Yet fire investigators maintained that the fire had not started in the entrance hall – they stated that the fire had started in three different places at once and that more than one person would have been involved. They also suspected that an accelerant such as petrol was used. Just to add to the confusion, although the Home Office acknowledged the fire investigators findings, they refused to review the case. No-one could return to ask Trevor Carrington for more details because two days after his alleged confession he was found dead, after falling into the path of a lorry on a quiet rural road. The dear old police announced that his death was not suspicious and that he had killed himself by throwing himself under the lorry. Trevor Carrington was unemployed yet had taken receipt of 20 thousand pounds into his bank account shortly before he died. He had told a third party that he banked on the Isle of Man and needed to go there to withdraw some cash. Trevor Carrington’s alleged confession was only made to one other person whose reliability was called into question and there is no other record of it. A few days before the fire, a couple who lived in the top floor flat of the building were stopped by a stranger in the street and advised to get out of the flat. In 2002, Hoogstraten was convicted of manslaughter and imprisoned after he paid two thugs to kill a business rival. Once this was made public, some of the relatives of those who died in the fire called for a fresh probe into the fire. That does not seem to have happened. Hoogstraten did not spend that long in prison either – he was released and then left the UK to live in Zimbabwe. He was alleged to be a good mate of the delightful Robert Mugabe. Before Hoogstraten left the UK he was investigated for tax evasion – the planned trial was dropped when information was received that the judge was going to be assassinated if it went ahead.

Some of the relatives of the deceased and some who hadn’t actually died in the fire still insisted on making a nuisance of themselves and continued to cry ‘foul play’. One young man was particularly vocal and maintained that some of the former kids who had been resident in north Wales children’s homes had been murdered. This young man gave evidence against John Allen at Allen’s trial in 1995. Shortly after he gave evidence and days before he was due to receive a substantial sum from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board he was found dead. Another suicide – of course, what else…

It was reported that the ‘gay community’ of Brighton refused to come forward and give information to the police about the fire because of their ‘gay lifestyle’. In a town famous for it’s hospitality towards gay people. Obviously nothing to do with their fear of being found dead after having committed suicide. There were attempts to prod the High Court into reinvestigating the fire but the High Court refused. Probably because of it was ashamed of it’s lifestyle.

This blog has commented previously on the propensity of buildings with connections to the mental health services and children’s services in north Wales to go up in flames – indeed it nearly happened to my own house (please see previous blog posts). Some years after the fire in Brighton, there was another interesting fire, this time in a warehouse in north Wales. The warehouse in question housed the records of the children who had passed through the hands of Bryn Estyn, one of the children’s homes in north Wales where serious sexual and physical abuse of residents had occurred. The fire occurred during the Waterhouse Tribunal – the records were completely destroyed and as a result the Waterhouse Tribunal was unable to trace many of the former residents of Bryn Estyn and request them to give evidence. That fire was declared by the police to be not in the least bit suspicious either.

Fires don’t always destroy buildings and records however. When I lived near Bethesda in the 90s I vaguely knew a young family who lived nearby – they were distinctive because they were two young parents with a very big family, much bigger than is the norm, there were about six or seven children, all quite close together in age. My friend knew the mother of the family and I was told that she took her Catholicism seriously and refused to use contraception. This was eliciting a lot of grief from the local welfare professionals – the mother was alleged to have had a good education but later suffered with mental health problems, as did the father. There was constant disapproval regarding the number of children that these two young people had. The family were certainly short of money and lived in a small very chaotic house but I never witnessed the parents being anything other than very caring towards their children. Years after I left Bethesda, I met the father of this family in my friends café in Llanberis. He had developed a psychotic illness and was living rough in barns and outbuildings around Gwynedd. He remembered me and began a conversation – he had just been kicked out of the Hergest Unit (on what grounds I didn’t know), was clearly quite unwell but chatted away enthusiastically about his children who were now all teenagers and to whom he had remained very close. I last saw him in about 2007 – he had turned up at Bangor University very disorientated and was trying to gatecrash the graduation ceremony, but not in an aggressive way, he just wanted to join in the party. Some time later a former neighbour from Bethesda told me that this man had died. He had gone on a trip to Ireland where for some inexplicable reason someone had set him on fire. He died from his burns. I am not aware that anyone was ever prosecuted for this.

Someone else from the Bangor area was found dead in Ireland as well, some years before the father of the big family in Bethesda, although I’m not sure that this man could fairly be categorised as a lamb. This was Geoffrey Leigh, a rather unscrupulous businessman who ran a property management company called Access Accommodation in Bangor, back in the early 90s. Leigh became notorious for swindling both landlords and tenants and had more than a few enemies. Leigh was then found murdered in Ireland. It was reported on the news that he had emigrated to Ireland days before to ‘start a new life’. Everyone presumed that someone whom he had conned had exacted revenge – but it then became known that Leigh had been murdered by his gay lover, a much younger man whom at one point had been his employee. Things got even more cloudy when it transpired that the gay lover who had murdered Leigh did not go to prison, he was instead put on probation. There was no explanation given in the media for this very light sentence but a few years ago I was told by someone who had worked in the probation service in north Wales that it was considered to be a case of domestic abuse in a same sex relationship – I was told that Leigh had been extremely abusive to his partner and this was taken to be a mitigating circumstance. None of this ever appeared in the local press in north Wales. What did appear was an enormous feature on Geoff Leigh, paying tribute to his work as a DJ for Radio Ysbyty Gwynedd – he used to present their Sunday morning Christian show no less.

Geoff Leigh was not the only man in north Wales who wore his Christianity on his sleeve who came to grief amid allegations of same sex activity. There was the case of the ‘brutal slaying’ of the ‘friendly’ Llanberis vicar, Canon Alun Jones in 1982. Two teenage boys were put on trial for his murder in 1983, at Chester Crown Court (where else – please see previous posts for interesting happenings at Chester Crown Court). The boys maintained that they had not intended to kill Alun Jones, although they had gone to his house to rob him and steal his car in order to run away. One of the boys was sent to borstal, but the other boy, 15 year old Richard Dennick, was given a life sentence and is now residing at Ty Llewellyn, the medium secure psychiatric unit run by the north Wales mental health services. Interestingly enough the boy who ended up receiving a life sentence and then was transferred into the mental health system maintained that he attacked the vicar because the vicar had tried to sexually assault him. There was a panic in 2015 because Richard Dennick managed to escape from Ty Llewellyn – within minutes the police put out warnings about an escaped murderer and the local schools were all closed lest any of the children encountered the escaped madman. It was stated that Richard Dennick was ‘unpredictable’ ‘without his medication’. I can find no record of Richard Dennick attempting to attack children. Richard Dennick’s story has always been that he did not mean to kill Canon Jones and that he only ever attacked Jones because he panicked when he thought that Alun Jones was going to sexually assault him. But whoever could know the truth in this case – after all, Chester Crown Court, the north Wales mental health services and allegations of sexual assault are involved. The press at the time described Alun Jones as allowing local boys to visit the vicarage to ‘play snooker’. Somebody else who grew up near Llanberis and remembers the case described Canon Jones to me as a ‘paedophile’. The judge at Chester who sentenced the 15 year old boy to life imprisonment described the boy as ‘evil’ – he was a Judge William Mars-Jones, later Sir William Mars-Jones. Mars-Jones grew up in Denbighshire, attended Denbigh High School and was of the same vintage as the lobotomist who presided over the North Wales Hospital Denbigh for so many years, Dr T. Gwynne Williams. In his obituaries, Mars-Jones was described as the ‘leader’ of the Chester and North Wales Circuit. Like so many people who have starred on this blog, as well as sitting on the Chester and Wales Circuit, Mars-Jones read law at Aberystwyth University.

It was when Richard Dennick escaped from Ty Llewellyn in 2015 that I became well-acquainted with the case of the murder of the Llanberis vicar and read the old press reports. I realised then that I had confused the case with another case from Gwynedd, the case of the Rev Emyr Owen from Tywyn in 1985, who was sentenced to four years in prison at Chester Crown Court for mutilating corpses. The case caused the most enormous fuss and it was reported that the Rev Owen had severed penises from three corpses, feeding one penis to the seagulls, burning another one and throwing another into the sea. The Rev Owen was said to have explained his actions by claiming that two Emyrs existed and it was ‘Emyr ddwrg’ (bad Emyr) who had defiled the corpses. Much was made in newspaper reports of Emyr Owen’s penchant for Cuban heels, his ‘bachelor lifestyle’ and the fact that he drove a car displaying pictures of fire-breathing serpents. But like so many criminal trials at Chester involving defendants from north Wales, there are indications that all might not have been as it was reported. The policeman who proudly boasted of catching Emyr Owen, DC Gwyn Roberts, has recently written his memoirs (as policemen from the North Wales Force are prone to doing – a number of them have published books along the lines of ‘murderers and perverts that I have known’). It transpires that Emyr Owen’s habits with corpses only came to light when DC Roberts caught Emyr writing hate mail. Emyr denied writing the hate mail – the hate mail had been sent to the police at Tywyn and to the Chief Constable David Owen – and no-one had any idea who was writing it, until DC Roberts ‘proved’ that it was Emyr after examining ‘6000 samples of handwriting’. That is an awful lot of samples to examine with the naked eye, remember, contrast and compare and later identify as being the handwriting of Emyr. It was alleged that the handwriting was ‘old fashioned’ and that there was a ‘distinctive’ letter T involved. Now someone of Emyr’s generation would have been taught handwriting at school, in a very prescriptive way, which may well have persisted with him into later adulthood. It may have been the case that every child taught handwriting by the teacher who taught Emyr was taught to write a distinctive T. DC Gwyn Roberts did not entertain this idea – because he knew that Emyr Did It. Furthermore once he proved that Emyr had written the hate mail, he then discovered that Emyr had removed the penises from three corpses. No penises were ever found – so how DC Roberts knew that one had been fed to sea gulls, one burnt and another thrown into the sea I do not know. There is also no mention of any corpses without penises being discovered. And guess what – DC Roberts explained that relatives of the defiled corpses were never informed, there was no need to cause upset. So it sounds to me as though there wasn’t any evidence at all produced. Emyr denied defiling corpses until after he was sentenced. Before this however, DC Gwyn Roberts had discovered a whole treasure trove at Emyr’s house – sticky tape, pliers, pornography, negatives of penises arranged on a plate and God knows what else. It was speculated that Emyr could have held Black Masses with all this gear. No-one had ever witnessed him actually doing this, but he could have… Emyr has gone down in the local history of north Wales as ‘Emyr ddwrg’ – but I notice that Emyr only ‘confessed’ to being two people, one of which was Emyr ddwrg, after he was sentenced. Interestingly enough, before being stitched up, or should I say ‘caught defiling corpses’, Emyr Owen had been the High Sheriff’s chaplain, sitting alongside the judge at Caernarfon Crown Court. So if all the allegations of rampant corruption in the North Wales Police and in the Chester and North Wales Circuit at that time were true – including allegations of the police planting incriminating material and compiling false confessions – Emyr may well have known a few things that could have landed a few people in a lot of trouble. And what if the ‘bachelor’ Minister took his religion seriously – which he might have, driving around in a car decorated with fire-breathing serpents, he may have been very zealous – there’s a danger that he might not have been easily persuaded to keep quiet about perjury and corruption. The thing that leaves me most uneasy about this whole case though is the identity of one of the prime movers and shakers, the prosecuting counsel – it was one Huw Daniel. For details of the dreadful Huw Daniel’s activities when he was elevated to Judge Huw Daniel and the account of the forging of a certificate of indictment relating to a case over which he presided, please see my posts ‘Interesting Happenings In The Legal System’, ‘Discussions On The Minibus – And A Revealing Letter’ and ‘Behind The Scenes Regarding Those Legal Happenings’. Ooh, one further thing about Emyr Owen’s trial – it was held so close to Christmas that the court officials didn’t think that there’d be any press coverage. DC Roberts remembers that they all had quite a shock when they realised that the world’s press had got hold of the story. I bet they did – no doubt the plan was for Emyr to be banged up without a word being printed about any of it. The only surprise is that Emyr wasn’t declared a ‘schizophrenic’ and handed over to the lobotomist and Dr Dafydd Alun Jones (although there might have been an attempt at that, remember the clichéd allegations about the two Emyr’s, one good, one bad?) – but a psychiatrist, a Dr William Lawson, testified that Emyr was not psychiatrically ill. If any readers know what prevented Emyr Owen from disappearing into the North Wales Hospital to be drugged into oblivion or sent ‘downstairs’, or indeed being found dead after ‘committing suicide’, please do let me know…

So presumably we can add the names of Richard Dennick and the Rev Emyr Owen as well as the names of Howard Hughes (please see post ‘More On Those Prisons For Folk Who Dared Complain’) and Matthew Hardman (see post ‘Family Annihilation’) to the long list of Welsh lambs that have been well and truly silenced via possible miscarriages of justice.

As Emyr Owen discovered, being a professional person of some standing in the community does not protect one from becoming a Welsh lamb. I have always been interested in what might have precipitated the fall from grace of another two people who were employed in the domain of law and order in north Wales. I have mentioned Sergeant Morgan of Bangor Police Station in my early post ‘Hippocratic Oath Or Hypocritic Oaf?’. On the night on which I was transported to the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and illegally imprisoned there, I heard Sgt Morgan, the custody Sgt on duty at Bangor Police Station, reaching a state of utter panic as he explained to the disgusting Dr K. Shah that I was being detained illegally. Sgt Morgan was ignored. I encountered Sgt Morgan a few months later when the north Wales mental health services were mass producing untruthful statements about me in a vain attempt to have me detained in Risley Remand Centre. I witnessed Sgt Morgan refuse to take a statement from one Janice Davies, a nurse at the North Wales Hospital, because he knew that it was a pack of lies – he was honest enough to tell me that ‘they’re all conspiring against you’. He also refused to allow Dr D.G.E. Wood into the cells to ‘visit’ me and prevented Dr X from sending ‘someone’ down to the police station to section me. In retrospect I suspect that it was only thanks to Sgt Morgan that I did not end up in Risley facing very serious charges. After I finally got home, I did of course make further complaints about the mental health services (they were never investigated). But I fear that I may have caused Sgt Morgan a great deal of difficulty. I had a row with Alun Davies, the manager of the mental health services at Ysbyty Gwynedd, on the phone – and I mentioned that even a policeman in Bangor Police Station had noted that the mental health services were conspiring against me. Davies bellowed down the phone that he’d ‘be making a complaint about that policeman’. Not long after, Sgt Morgan appeared in Court charged with indecently assaulting a teenage girl who had been in custody. The girl had been charged with theft and Sgt Morgan had put his hand in the back pocket of her jeans to ‘search’ her. It was enough to have him prosecuted, convicted and sacked. Now he may well have done what the teenager alleged. But that was nothing compared to what the rest of them were doing…. Now I know just how corrupt Davies et al were, I cannot help suspecting that Sgt Morgan was sacrificed. Time to hear Sgt Morgan’s story I think. Another person who was hung out to dry some ten years ago was John Grant Jones. John Grant Jones was the clerk to the Magistrates at Bangor. I remember him very well because he was there every time that the north Wales mental health services mounted prosecutions against me for ludicrous reasons. John Grant Jones was unfailingly friendly, polite, respectful and always explained procedures to me. So imagine my surprise when, many years later, John Grant Jones hit the headlines of the local press in a very big way. By that time he had reached a senior position in the Association of Justices Chief Executives, but he had been sacked amidst allegations of financial corruption. He stood accused of having fiddled extra money for his pension as well as an honorarium. In what must be a first for north Wales he was stripped of his OBE. John Grant Jones put up a fight and launched a case for unfair dismissal and I think disability discrimination. It was reported in the press that he had become very ill with the stress of what had happened to him and that his illness had then been used as a reason to put the boot in further. John Grant Jones eventually dropped his legal case and no longer works for the Court service in north Wales. I have no idea whether John Grant Jones was fiddling, but as with Sgt Morgan, even if John Grant Jones had been guilty of what he was accused, that was cat’s piss compared to what else was going on. As for taking away his OBE – just look at who in north Wales are hanging onto gongs: Keith Thomson, David Prichard, Peter Higson, D.G.E. Wood, Huw Daniel, Elfed Roberts – it’s a roll call of corrupt professional people who have been involved in the most serious wrongdoing. Time for John Grant Jones to tell us all why he was stuffed over by this bunch of crooks…

Like Sgt Morgan, there is yet another person whom I suspect may have been driven out of their job because they dared express the opinion that some of what was happening in the mental health services was shocking. For a while in the 90s I used to have a very nice GP in Bangor – she was very popular in the area and very well-respected. When I discussed Dr Dafydd Alun Jones with her she was honest enough to describe him as a ‘crook’ and a ‘wicked sick man’ – which is Dafydd in a nutshell really. She disappeared from Bangor some months later and no-one seemed to know why. Whilst browsing through the documents that were returned from my lawyers a few weeks ago I came across a copy of a letter that I’d written to Alun Davies after he had assured me that there were no problems with Dafydd at all. I had quoted this GP – I didn’t mention her by name, but what’s the betting that Davies et al did a bit of research to find out which GP could have made these comments? No wonder doctors won’t come and work in north Wales.

Before I finish this post, I’ll remember just three more lambs who were silenced. One was a man called Philip who had bipolar disorder, whom I first met in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. I have mentioned previously on the blog that just about everybody who I knew from those days is now dead – as far as I know, Philip was the last to die. I met up with Philip again when I was a patient at the Hergest Unit in about 2002, shortly before the dreadful Dr Tony Roberts did his best to ensure that I died. Like so many patients, Philip did not like either Tony Roberts or Dr David Healy. Whilst I was with him in the Hergest Unit Philip was quite manic and busied himself ruthlessly mocking Healy and Roberts, at one point writing a message up on a blackboard to remind the hospital of one of Healy’s less reputable activities. Some months after being discharged Philip died. ‘A problem with his medication’ I understand… I was told by a third party that it had been a case of sheer gross negligence. Another person whom I knew at the Hergest Unit with bipolar disorder has also fared very badly, although I don’t know if she is actually dead now. This was someone whose illness was very unstable at the best of times, but worsened if she was exposed to distress. At one point her behaviour became really intolerable and she was constantly unpleasant and offensive to everyone. I was told by one of the better nurses that this patient was particularly distressed because her sister had just begun nurse training at the Hergest Unit – the patient herself had been a student nurse before she became so ill that she had to withdraw. So no-one at the Hergest Unit knows the meaning of the expression ‘rubbing salt into the wound’ then. Never mind issues of confidentiality. I last saw this person in Bangor about five years ago. She was living rough and had been destitute for many months. She had spent the last few weeks hitch-hiking around the country and had earlier that morning hitched a lift from Manchester to Bangor with an unknown lorry driver. A lone, vulnerable woman with a severe mental illness who had spent the last twenty years in the embrace of the north Wales mental health services – duty of care anyone? The last lamb to be mentioned here was someone who was in the bed next to me in Seiriol Ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd in 1991. I thought of her as being an old lady, although she was probably about the same age that I am now, mid 50s. The reason that I thought of her as being an old lady was that she acted like one – she spent all day in bed and repeatedly stated her desire to be moved into an old people’s home so that she could die. She was a patient of Dr X and there was no privacy afforded to her at all, ward rounds were conducted by Dr X who would arrive at her bedside, in a dorm shared by loads of other patients, and ask her why she was ‘like this’. She would repeat that she wanted a place in an old folk’s home so that she could die. She had a husband who was clearly going out of his mind with worry who would diligently visit her every evening and a daughter who was probably in her early twenties who was very withdrawn and shy. A series of extraordinary decisions were made. Dr X announced that this lady was behaving like this because life in Seiriol Ward was ‘too comfortable’, so they were going to discharge her. The nurses were then told to prepare this lady’s shy daughter for her mother’s death – literally. And they did. They began to have conversations with her explaining that her mother ‘would not be here for ever’ and how they were going to help her live independently. The lady whose only desire to die was discharged. I understand that she died. What the bloody hell was Seiriol Ward, north Wales’s answer to Dignitas???

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sisters Are Indeed Doing It For Themselves…

This blog has previously touched on the way that ‘progressive’ causes such as ‘equality and diversity’ are ruthlessly manipulated by powerful people to close down complaint or debate about abuse in systems like the NHS and Social Services – a lot of Mike Claybrook’s comments on my posts discuss this. The blog has also constantly drawn attention to the various politicians in Wales who style themselves as ‘progressive’ and who keenly tweet their support for every worthy cause going yet who have remained strangely silent about the carnage in the north Wales mental health services.

The Guardian website is covering a story involving the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, who has become embroiled in a spat with a Judge Shorrock, after he wrote a letter to the Telegraph concerning witness testimony in rape and sexual assault trials. Saunders has accused Shorrock of ‘victim-blaming’ and peddling ‘rape myths’.

It would appear that this row was precipitated by a column written by Allison Pearson in the Daily Telegraph, in which she accused Saunders and Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, of forming a ‘militant sisterhood’ because of their plans to ensure that alleged rape victims no longer have to endure live cross-examination in Court. Allison Pearson is a writer of bile in right-wing newspapers and is almost the living embodiment of the Private Eye’s imagined female columnist ‘Polly Filler’- Pearson’s writing usually involves an all-out attack on other women, usually women rather less privileged than her. Alison Saunders is probably delighted that Pearson has accused her of being a paid-up member of a ‘militant sisterhood’, Saunders would love people to believe that she is championing the cause of the oppressed, in this case victims of sexual assault. There are undoubtedly problems in sexual assault trials because by their very nature, no victim of an assault of that nature is ever going to want to stand up in open court and discuss it and this is frequently fully exploited by people accused of sexual assault or their legal representatives. On the other hand, being found guilty of serious sexual assault can result in a hefty prison sentence and it is not something that one wants to happen to someone who is not guilty. (Furthermore prisoners convicted of sex offences are frequently subjected to violent attacks from other inmates and their lives are often wrecked even after they have left prison.) So the system is left with a situation in which the defendant must be afforded a fair trial but the alleged victim spared as much distress as possible. In this instance, Saunders has gained much of kudos because a lot of people continue to be very concerned at the treatment of some witnesses in sexual assault trials. But how much of an underdog’s champ is Alison Saunders?

When Alison Saunders was first appointed as DPP there was a great rejoicing in certain quarters because she was only the second woman to have held the office, was the first DPP who was not a QC and was the first person to be appointed from within the Crown Prosecution Service. However Saunders’s time as DPP has been dogged by controversy.

There was much criticism of Saunders in the wake of the case of Eleanor de Freitas, who killed herself after the Crown Prosecution Service decided to take over a private prosecution brought against her by the man whom she had accused of rape. Eleanor was a very troubled young woman who had bipolar disorder. Saunders stated that the ‘evidence in this case was strong and having considered it in light of all of our knowledge and guidance on prosecuting sexual offences and allegedly false rape claims, it is clear there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction for perverting the course of justice’.

Saunders also came under fire from campaigners against assisted suicide when in 2014 she was alleged to have amended prosecution policy outside of the democratic process. She was taken to the High Court in 2015 by a campaigner who argued that Saunders’s amendment could pave the way for organisations like Dignitas to operate in the UK. The case against Saunders was dismissed…

However my ears really pricked up over the case of Lord Greville Janner, the former Labour MP from Leicester who for many years had been the subject of allegations that he sexually abused boys in care. Janner always denied this and maintained that he had been the subject of a smear by Frank Beck, a senior social worker in Leicestershire, whilst Beck was on trial himself for sexually abusing children in care – a witness at Beck’s trial also claimed that he’d been abused by Janner. Beck was later sentenced to seven life terms. The allegations against Janner did not go away and it was eventually revealed that the CPS had in fact had enough evidence to prosecute him many years ago but had failed to do so on a number of occasions. In April 2015 Saunders herself made the decision not to prosecute Janner on child sexual abuse charges despite his meeting the evidential test for prosecution. Saunders cited his poor health as the reason for not prosecuting Janner – although some of the medical evidence presented was challenged. In June 2015 Saunders’s decision not to prosecute Janner was overturned –  the decision marked the first time that a DDP has had a major prosecuting decision reviewed and overturned. Because Janner was deemed to be suffering from dementia and unfit to stand trial, it was announced that there would be a ‘trial of the facts’. Janner died before that happened. Since Janner’s death, many more people have made allegations that they were sexually abused by him and Leicestershire Police have placed the blame concerning the failure to prosecute him very firmly on the CPS. A number of the alleged victims of Janner have stated their intention to sue his estate. Janner’s family continue to maintain his innocence and his son, a barrister like Janner himself was, recently stated that the family will oppose attempts to sue his father’s estate. Janner’s daughter Marion is a mental health campaigner and is frequently wheeled out by Radio 4’s programme ‘All In The Mind’ as a ‘service user campaigner’. Much is made of the need for Marion to be accompanied at all times by her ’emotional support dog’ and indeed Marion, the dog and Greville used to make collective appearances until those sexual abuse allegations refused to disappear from the headlines. Marion launched a campaign entitled ‘Star Wards’, which seemed to involve complimenting dreadful services on their ‘care’ – indeed she managed to visit north east Wales a few years ago and noted the ‘excellent services’. Marion is now the proud possessor of an OBE. Oh well her dad netted a peerage…

After all that Janner business, there were calls for Saunders to resign. She didn’t.

There is another high profile female lawyer who also comes under attack from sections of the right-wing press for her alleged militant feminism and that is Vera Baird. Vera has a very impressive pedigree as far as feminist lawyers go. She was a colleague of Michael Mansfield’s, she acted for Greenham Common women, for striking miners in 1984-85 including for those involved in the Battle of Orgreave, for numerous women in domestic abuse and rape cases and worked with dear old MIND to make courts ‘more responsive’ to the needs of people with mental health problems. Vera is generally a very big name in terms of radical lawyers. Vera was elected as a Labour MP when Tony Blair was Prime Minister. She was eventually appointed as Solicitor General for England and Wales and her boss was Lord Falconer aka Charlie Falconer, Tony Blair’s former flatmate. Falconer had been appointed Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs by Blair in the wake of the abolition of the office of Lord Chancellor. The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs became the sponsoring Department for the Secretary of State for Wales.

One of New Labour’s achievements that Charlie – and Vera – really enjoyed boasting about was the Human Rights Act. The Human Rights Act they stressed gave people redress if they were, for example, in ‘care’ settings and were being treated with a lack of dignity, let alone being abused or neglected. But Charlie did something else that Vera supported which received much less publicity. They made it virtually impossible for anyone to gain access to the Legal Aid needed to bring a case under the Human Rights Act. Charlie Falconer touched my own life about ten years ago when he came to give a public lecture at Bangor University – he had been invited there by Betty Williams, the Labour MP for Aberconwy who had ignored many complaints from constituents about the abuses in the Hergest Unit. I was in the audience – and so were two local lawyers, both people who had represented many mental health patients. Charlie waxed lyrical about his achievements in Government, particularly the Human Rights Act, and gave a touching little theoretical example of an old lady who in a nursing home who was being left too long sitting upon a commode. She could now sue under the Human Rights Act thanks to New Labour! As we listened to this, I and the two lawyers all wanted to make the same point – that little old lady had effectively been prevented from suing the nursing home for anything unless she was very rich indeed, because you Charlie have just effectively abolished Legal Aid. Charlie finished his lecture – and Betty announced that Charlie would not be taking questions because he had another important appointment. I later found out that what Charlie actually did immediately after the lecture was to attend a drinks party with a select number of academics from Bangor who presumably had been invited on the grounds that they could be relied upon not to ask him any difficult questions. After Charlie’s visit to Bangor, the abuses at the Hergest Unit continued and some people died. No-one sued Hergest for anything under the Human Rights Act.

Charlie Falconer also worked very hard to amend procedures to make it easier for Government depts to refuse to release information in response to Freedom of Information requests. Indeed I have been refused access to documentation relating to the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and the now defunct Mental Health Act Commission under clauses introduced by Charlie.

Vera, Charlie’s right hand woman, is now Dame Vera, on account of her services to ‘women and equalities’. Vera is now Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumberland. Unlike her situation when she was a Labour MP, Vera cannot now be voted out.

There are is another example of a female layer who also did very well for herself on the basis of her commitment to equalities and that was Constance Briscoe. Briscoe made much of being one of the few black women judges and achieved notoriety when she wrote a particularly grim misery memoir entitled ‘Ugly’, in which she detailed how she was horribly abused as a child by her mother and her stepfather, her mother memorably calling her ‘Miss Pissabed’. Briscoe’s misery memoir was featured in ‘Take A Break’ magazine which one would not have thought was standard reading for members of the judiciary – Briscoe was a recorder specialising in, among other things, children’s welfare and Mental Health Tribunals. Briscoe was a darling of the Daily Mail and was frequently featured in there discussing the enormous amount of cosmetic surgery to which she was subjecting herself on the grounds of her poor self-image that had resulted from her abusive childhood.

The tabloids and women’s magazines who lapped up Briscoe’s ‘inspirational’ story didn’t seem to notice that not only was all this rather unusual behaviour for a judge, but there were a few other worrying things happening around Briscoe. Her mother had come forward claiming that ‘Ugly’ was a pack of lies and that Briscoe had never been abused – her mother attempted to sue Briscoe for libel. Her mother lost, whereupon other members of Briscoe’s family then spoke to the media maintaining that Briscoe was indeed a liar and was abusing her position as a lawyer. However, abusive families sometimes do collude against any family member who exposes them and this was very much the line that the media took after Briscoe’s family went public. But then former colleagues of Briscoe’s who had worked with her at Mansfield’s  chambers – Briscoe had been given a pupillage by Mansfield, being a black female lawyer from a disadvantaged background – began to say some not very flattering things about her. Helena Kennedy was asked her opinion regarding her memories of working with Briscoe and was not half as rude as everyone else had been. Briscoe flattened her, making some very unpleasant comments regarding Kennedy’s attempts to look after the junior members of the chambers at that time. Then Briscoe became embroiled in yet another extraordinary court case. She maintained that she had been walking through London when a cab driver had yelled out of his window at her that she was a ‘black c***’. Briscoe jumped in the cab behind, pursued him through London, caught up with him, performed a citizen’s arrest and had him prosecuted. The cabbie protested his innocence but he lost the case – Briscoe was hailed as a heroine for her brave battle against racism and subsequently gave media interviews about the evils of a white man who couldn’t bear to see a black female judge. No-one pointed out the obvious – that it would be highly unlikely that a cabbie would actually have ever heard of Briscoe, yet alone recognised her. Furthermore, London is full of well-dressed professional black women, she wouldn’t have stood out at all. And if I know anything about traffic in central London, it is more than a little fortuitous that there just happened to be yet another cab available, just behind the alleged offender, for Briscoe to jump into in order to pursue and then apprehend him.

The next time that Briscoe hit the media it elicited rather less flattering headlines. In the wake of Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce’s acrimonious marital breakdown, it was alleged that Briscoe, a friend and neighbour of Pryce, had perverted the course of justice in an attempt to ensure that Huhne was imprisoned. Briscoe was found guilty of lying to a police officer, lying in a police statement as well as providing a forged document and was jailed. The career that Miss Pissabed had built on the basis of her ‘inspirational’ fight for ‘equality’ ended. Vicky Pryce also went to prison but constructed herself as the female victim of her oppressive husband. Pryce was not a single mother on benefits, she was one of the country’s leading economists and an advisor to the UK Government. After serving her prison sentence she was soon back on the ‘Today’ programme, ‘Any Questions’ etc, such are the downtrodden.

The sort of ‘militant sisterhood’ displayed by the people whom I have written about above is about as genuine as the outbreak of feminism in Plaid recently, when Leanne and a few of her mates decided to shaft Neil McEvoy, for making a ‘bullying’ comment. At the time I understand that McEvoy was representing a woman who was in danger of being evicted.

Are these Sisters Doing It For Themselves or are these simply Sisters In It For Themselves?