‘Ain’t Nothing Clean’ – Not Even The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists

My post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’ detailed the findings of the Jillings Report – or at least those findings that anyone was allowed to read, what with the Jillings Report being so heavily redacted by the time that it was eventually published. The Jillings Report investigated sexual abuse in children’s homes in Clwyd and in that post I provided a few details regarding the managers of Clwyd Social Services during the period under investigation, 1974-1995. The over-riding impression that one is left with from the Jillings Report is how clueless the managers all were and the enormous degree of cronyism involved in appointments. I thought that I’d have a look at what the Waterhouse Report said about it all and I also decided to do a bit of research on the most senior figures in Clwyd County Council – and their fate after they had been outed as presiding over the biggest child abuse scandal in the history of the UK.

Ronald Waterhouse introduces his discussion regarding the management of Clwyd County Council by observing that as Clwyd County Council ceased to exist on 1 April 1996 – a local government reorganisation most conveniently occurred just as John Jillings submitted his report – and stating that the Council ‘could not therefore be represented before us’, mentioning this as one of the many difficulties that the Waterhouse Tribunal was faced with. The successor authorities were represented – by the crooked former Gwynedd County Council lawyer Ron Evans and counsel Merfyn Hughes QC – but they didn’t purport to present a case on behalf of Clwyd County Council. Ronnie states that it was ‘left to the Tribunal itself to conduct the investigation…and to seek out appropriate witnesses’. So that’s why Ronnie did such a hopeless job – he had to do it all himself, supported only by the other two stooges who completed his panel, the Treasury Solicitor’s team, the lawyers representing the Welsh Office, the team of paralegals and administrators from the Welsh Office dispatched by the Welsh Office, Gerard Elias QC, Ernest Ryder, Gregory Treverton-Jones, Ron Evans and Merfyn Hughes QC.

Clwyd County Council was formed in 1974. It’s first Director of Social Services was Emlyn Evans (1974-80) and his Deputy Director was Gledwyn Jones. Neither of them had a specialist background in child care matters. Evans had previously been the Director of Social Services for Denbighshire from Jan 1971 and for Flintshire from approx April 1973. So he knew the patch well and he’ll also have known Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and the lobotomist Dr T. Gwynne Williams who were unlawfully banging up any awkward customers in the North Wales Hospital. Jillings observed that serious child abuse had probably been happening in the region for decades and my own inquiries suggest that is almost certainly true… When Evans retired in 1980, he was succeeded by Gledwyn, who remained as Director of Social Services until 1991. It was acknowledged that there were serious problems in the Social Services Dept before Evans retired and an internal investigation, the O and M Report (by Clwyd’s Organisation and Methods dept), reported in Feb 1980. The report was highly critical and described the sorry state of the management of child care services.

When Gledwyn was appointed Director, John Coley was appointed his Deputy Director. Coley had been the Assistant Director of Dorset Social Services since 1974 and after he left Clwyd in Feb 1984 he was appointed Senior Deputy Director of Tayside Regional Council. John Jevons then succeeded Coley as Deputy Director. Jevons had no experience in child care either, although he had previously spent ten years as the Social Development Manager in the Milton Keynes Development Corporation. In 1991 Jevons became Director of Clwyd Social Services when Gledwyn retired. One of the managers beneath Gledwyn and Jevons with responsibility for children’s services was John Llewellyn-Thomas, who came to Clwyd in Feb 1984 from the Regional Planning Unit for Wales. Prior to that he had been a probation officer. Llewellyn-Thomas was initially responsible for residential homes for children and then in 1986 his responsibility was widened to cover virtually everything concerning children’s services. In April 1991 he was appointed Assistant Director of Children and Family Services and after that he became Director of Social Services for Torfaen.

Waterhouse noted that the Deputy Directors in the 80s were ‘not closely involved in children’s services’, although Coley had a ‘specific role to play in Clwyd County Council’s function as an adoption agency’. However, Coley ‘cannot recall any complaints or allegations of abuse in respect of children in care reaching him’. Jevons, when he was an Assistant Director, had an input into policy ‘mainly in respect of mental handicap and mental illness’ and as Deputy Director he retained those responsibilities and took on others, but continued to be heavily involved in mental health strategy. Gledwyn was concentrating his energies on children’s services. So Jevons was partly responsible for Dafydd and the lobotomist being given free reign then – who were discrediting and imprisoning people who had complained about being molested whilst in care. Jevons attended Senior Management Team meetings but couldn’t remember any matter of complaint relating to the children’s services being discussed at any of the meetings.

In the 80s, the middle managers responsible for children in residential care were Geoffrey Wyatt and Raymond Powell (Assistant Directors of Social Services) and John Llewellyn-Thomas (Principal Officer for Children from 1984). Until 1987 Gordon Ramsey was responsible for placements and from Jan 1988, Michael Barnes was directly responsible for children’s homes.

Waterhouse described ‘turmoil’ prevailing in Clwyd Social Services as the 1980s drew to a close and they prepared for the implementation of the Children’s Act 1989 and the NHS and Community Care Act 1990. The NHS and Community Care Act certainly caused them traumas because the North Wales Hospital Denbigh was stuffed full with people being held there unlawfully, most of whom should never have been there in the first place and Dafydd, Peter Higson, Laurie Wood et al knew that they were going to have some explaining to do when that place was emptied. And of course there was the matter of the patients who had disappeared and those that Gwynne had more than likely killed whilst he was lobotomising them. In 1990 there was a major reorganisation in Clwyd Social Services and it was split into three divisions on a geographical basis. Waterhouse makes a point of saying that he’s not going to enter into details about this, so that reorganisation must have been hiding a multitude of sins. After the reorganisation, John Jevons was promoted to Director and the position of Deputy Director was dispensed with – there were instead three new Divisional Directors.

Geoffrey Wyatt retired in Sept 1992 – he had been responsible for the registration and inspection of children’s homes. John Llewllyn-Thomas left Clwyd in April 1991 – he had been a member of the Welsh Office’s working party regarding preparation for the Children Act. During this time Clwyd had one of the highest proportions of children placed in residential care in Wales. In Jan 1992, Jackie Thomas was appointed as Principal Officer (Children). She only lasted in this post until April 1994 and then left as a result of a long term illness.

So that lot were the people screwing up big time on the ground. What of the most senior people in the Council as a whole, the Chief Executive and the County Secretary? The first Chief Exec of Clwyd was T.M. Hadyn Rees. Hadyn Rees had been around for donkeys years. He originated from Swansea and in 1947 was appointed as assistant solicitor to Caernarvon County Council. The following year he went to Flint County Council in a similar role and became the County Clerk in 1967. He retired in 1977. Mervyn Phillips succeeded Hadyn as Chief Exec and stayed in the post until 1992. He had been Deputy Chief Exec from the creation of Clwyd County Council. Phillips was a solicitor who was a law graduate of Liverpool University. When Mervyn stood down in 1992, he was succeeded by Roger Davies. Davies was a solicitor and an Oxford graduate who in 1977 became Director of Legal Services in Clwyd, was County Secretary from 1980 and then Deputy Chief Exec from 1982 (although he was still usually referred to as the County Secretary). He became Chief Exec in Aug 1992 and remained as such until Clwyd’s dissolution. So between them, Hadyn Rees, Mervyn Phillips and Roger Davies knew that region very well indeed and had been at the top of the tree for a very long time. Yet none of them took responsibility for anything concerning the rampant abuse of children in care in Clwyd and the operation of a gang of paedophiles involved in organised crime.

Roger Davies serviced/attended the Social Services Committee and Mervyn Phillips shouldered the responsibility firmly onto Roger and Gledwyn, the Director of Social Services. Waterhouse stated that Phillips ‘relied heavily upon the Director of Social Services and the County Secretary’. Yet Phillips only met Gledwyn about twice a month, although he spoke to Roger almost daily. Waterhouse claims that Phillips ‘learned for example of the convictions of social services staff when they occurred through the Director or County Secretary and similarly of the request made by Mr Justice Mars-Jones for an investigation’. He also maintains that the ‘failure to inform the Chief Exec of criticism of management and practices of the department was part of a pattern of deliberate non-disclosure’, which resulted in ‘ineffective monitoring’ by the Chief Exec. It seems that there were a number of damning internal reports concerning the social services dept of which it is claimed that Phillips knew nothing. So Waterhouse believed that Phillips knew nuzzing, even when staff of Clwyd were appearing in the media being carted off to prison for abusing the children in their care. I shall explore how likely this was later on. However it was admitted that when Gledwyn was in hospital in 1987, Jevons did discuss Mars-Jones’s request with Phillips and Phillips decided that Roger Davies would carry out the investigation. Jevons himself claimed that when he became Director of Social Services in April 1991 he received no guidance from Phillips or Davies regarding which matters to refer to the Chief Exec – this was not long before Phillips’s retirement and just before the major police investigation into child abuse in Clwyd. Waterhouse summarises Phillips’s management style by stating that ‘Phillips did not offer regular discussions or supervision and did not expect to be informed of day to day business’. Whilst he mildly admonishes Mervyn Phillips et al for taking their eye off the ball, the person who comes in for the most serious condemnation was one of the people with least clout, Iorwerth Thomas, who was ‘a striking example of a person who never shouldered his assigned responsibility for the children’s services’. Unlike those highly paid law graduates who were also solicitors who had been employed in the system for decades and who of course had no idea at all of what was going on.

Waterhouse notes at one point in the Report that between 1977-1980 Emlyn Evans ‘thought that Arnold was living up to his high commendation by the Home Office’. This is a reference to Matt Arnold who was the head of the monstrous Bryn Estyn home, which was one of the most intense centres of paedophile activity, as well as being a place of very great physical cruelty. A number of staff from Bryn Estyn alone were convicted of the sexual abuse of children, the worst offender being Peter Howarth. Howarth had known Arnold since the mid 1960s and they had both worked together at an approved school in Gateshead, where there were allegations that Howarth had sexually abused boys. It was Arnold who brought Howarth to Bryn Estyn with him when Arnold was appointed head. So the Home Office had ‘highly commended’ Arnold – of course until 1974, Bryn Estyn was run by the Home Office. A number of the staff who were eventually convicted of child abuse had worked at Bryn Estyn whilst it was run by the Home Office. That would have been the Home Office under Ted Heath. Gledwyn Jones expressed a similarly high opinion of Arnold. Raymond Powell (Assistant Director, Children In Residential Care) between 1974-89 held the same opinion of Arnold. Powell claimed that the atmosphere at Bryn Estyn was ‘always good’ and that the ‘boys seemed to be happy’. The boys who were constantly running away because they were being physically injured and repeatedly molested. Waterhouse notes that Geoffrey Wyatt, Arnold’s line manager, was faced with great difficulty – it was admitted that Arnold did whatever he wanted, ‘felt able to approach the Director of Social Services directly when he chose to do so’ and that Arnold was ‘wrongly permitted to run Bryn Estyn as his own fiefdom’. Waterhouse also mentions that Arnold earned ‘substantially more’ than Wyatt.

Shouldn’t Ronnie’s antennae at least have twitched at this point? Arnold is out of control, his line manager can’t reign him in, Arnold is paid SUBSTANTIALLY MORE than his line manager and he’s got a hot line to the Director of Social Services. Furthermore he was ‘highly commended’ by the Home Office and was running a home for them – a home where boys were being molested by a paedophile ring. A ring that those boys alleged contained a number of public figures and politicians… One of the boys who dared complain was transferred to Neath Farm School, a place that had an even worse reputation than Bryn Estyn – the other boys were known to have feared that the same thing would happen to them if they complained. Sounds as though that all this could be connected with the putative Westminster paedophile ring…

Regarding the bigwigs at the top of Clwyd County Council who had not a clue that children were being abused, that is T.M. Hadyn Rees, Mervyn Phillips and Roger Davies:

Hadyn Rees died in 1995 and his obituary in the ‘Independent’ was revealing. It described Hadyn Rees as having spent ‘a lifetime in public service in Wales’ and that he lobbied for the setting up of Mold Law Courts, which made the town the principal legal centre in north Wales. Hadyn Rees also campaigned after Thatcher’s policies devastated industry on Deeside and Shotton, especially after the steel works closed down. He was said to have ‘immersed himself in the battle to bring in new employment’ and his activities led to the establishment of Deeside Industrial Park. So somehow he had a lot of clout in high places. One obituary stated that ‘his battles with the Welsh Office to secure parity with south Wales when discussions of Gov’t funding was discussed became something of a legend – and won him wide respect’. So this solicitor who had been working in north Wales since the late 1940s and who oversaw a Council whose children’s homes were rife with paedophile activity had a lot of power at the Welsh Office. The Welsh Office who ignored complaints about the paedophile gang that was operating in the social services that Hadyn Rees ran, the Welsh Office who knew that the mental health services in the region – which were banging up the former residents of children’s homes – were involved in criminal activities and who used their own crooked lawyer Andrew Park to conceal this. But guess what – Hadyn was clerk to the North Wales Police Authority between 1967-77. The North Wales Police who were accused of failing to take action against the paedophile gang and who employed Gordon Anglesea as an officer, who was eventually imprisoned for abusing boys in care in north Wales. Upon retirement Hadyn Rees became a magistrate in Mold and then in 1985 became Chairman of the Magistrates in Mold. That will have been as useful as his stint with the North Wales Police Authority. Of course, one of the biggest movers and shakers that there was in north Wales at that time, Lord Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, was also a member of the North Wales Police Authority. He was the father of Thomas Tyrell-Kenyon, who in 1979 was involved in an embarrassing incident after having sex with a teenage boy who was in the care of Clwyd Social Services. Please see post ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’.

Hadyn had his fingers in a lot more pies than law n order though. He was Chairman of the Welsh Water Authority 1977-82; a member of the Severn Barrage Committee 1978-81; a member of the National Water Council 1977-82 and a part-time member of BSC (Industry) Ltd 1979-83, which is the name that British Steel formerly went under. But didn’t Hadyn battle so hard for the people of Clwyd when Thatcher shut the steel works down??? Hadyn however seems to be best known for Mold’s crowning glory – Theatr Clwyd. It is acknowledged by one and all that Theatr Clwyd was a result of Hadyn’s vision and it was even opened by HM the Queen in 1976. Hadyn was a member of the Welsh Arts Council 1968-77 as well, so that might have loosened a few purse strings even if the gay brothels staffed by children in care didn’t. Like so many others who seemed to be connected with the business of concealing the abuse of children in care in north Wales, Hadyn Rees was a member of the Gorsedd of the Bards.

Mervyn Phillips succeeded Hadyn as Chief Exec. Mervyn is a man of many good deeds as well. Mervyn is best known for being the first Chairman of Nightingale House Hospice in Wrexham. Nightingale House started as a day ward in Wrexham Maelor Hospital and in an interview for the Daily Post Mervyn explained that ‘I was coming up for retirement in 1992 [just when the police were investigating the abuse of children in the care of his County Council] but I was approached to ask if I could help raise funds to set up the hospice’. Mervyn was given one hell of a task – he was asked to raise £2.5 million in order to open the hospice, but he did it remarkably quickly. Building started in 1994 but Mervyn seemed to have found the speediest builders in Wales and it was completed and opened in 1995. Mervyn explained that the money was ‘raised through donations and people involved in health care’. Now I don’t think that Mervyn raised £2.5 million by rattling a tin in Wrexham town centre but I do know that a lot of people involved in ‘health care’ in north Wales are very dishonest indeed and concealed the paedophile gang that operated in the children’s homes. I wonder if Merv persuaded them to stump up and if they did I wonder which budget the dosh for the ‘donations’ came from.

Mervyn is a busy bee though. Companies House data reveals that Mervyn is a director of the Clwyd Fine Arts Trust; was a director of the Bodelwyddan Castle Trust (resigned Jan 2017); was a director of the Wrexham Hospital and Cancer Support Centre Foundation [the original name of Nightingale House Hospice] (resigned May 2014); was a director of Gladstone’s Library (resigned 2005); was a director of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Assurance Trust (resigned 2005); was a director of Nightingale House Lottery Ltd (resigned 2001); was a director of Nightingale House Promotions Ltd (resigned Feb 2001); was a director of the European Centre for Training and Regional Co-Operation (resigned Feb 1999); was a director of Clwydfro (resigned March 1994); was a director of the Institute for Welsh Affairs (resigned June 1993). There is also a reference on the internet to Mervyn being involved with the Flying North Derbyshire Tinnitus Support Group of all things – along with David Owen, the Chief Constable of the North Wales Police who led the force when it investigated abuse in children’s homes whilst Mervyn was Chief Exec. There was a lot of people who thought that Owen should not have led that investigation because allegations had been made that his own officers had been involved with the abuse. But Owen refused to appoint an outside officer to lead the investigation and the Home Secretary at the time refused to intervene regarding Owen investigating his own force either.

Mervyn Phillips also oversaw the redevelopment of Tyddyn Street Church, Mold in June 2012. The dosh for this came from Cadwyn Council, which provided £14,823 from the Flintshire Key Fund – this money came from the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2001-13, funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Gov’t. (Flintshire was one of the successor authorities when Clwyd was dissolved and Mold is in Flintshire.) I’d love to know who was sitting on the grant awarding committee.

In 1985 Mervyn was appointed to the Registered Homes Tribunal. That was at the time the body responsible for appeals relating to the registration of nursing homes, care homes and children’s homes.

In 1991 Mervyn appeared in the Birthday Honours!

In Aug 1999 Mervyn appeared on the BBC in his capacity as the Secretary of the Presbytarian Church of Wales Social Issues Committee, raising concerns regarding genetic engineering and the use of GM plants. Mervyn referred to ‘the Christian perspectives on the importance of creation and human dignity’. I’m not sure that there was much dignity in being passed around a paedophile ring and having the living daylights beaten out of you if you dared complain, but at least it didn’t involve genetic manipulation.

Interestingly enough, when Gordon Anglesea died in prison last year, there was a big turn out at his funeral, including from the Police Federation and the Methodist Church. I wonder if Mervyn was among the mourners.

Merv’s generosity knows no bounds though. In July 2015, a local paper in north Wales ran an interview with Gethin Davies, who was stepping down after being on the Board of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod after 45 years. Gethin was explaining this history of the Royal International Pavilion and said that in 1958 the Eisteddfod purchased the fields where the Eisteddfod is held for £12,000, which ‘turned out to be a very good piece of business’. Part of the parcel of land was then leased to Denbighshire County Council with the proviso it be available to the Eisteddfod. Gethin went on to say that they ‘later worked out a deal with Clwyd County Council thanks to Mervyn Phillips’ ‘which has also proved crucial’. The Royal International Pavilion was opened by HM the Queen in 1992. Next time the Queen is invited to open something that’s the brainchild of a Chief Exec of Clwyd County Council I suggest that she asks to see all the paperwork. Like Mervyn, Gethin Davies was a solicitor. Gethin read law at Aberystwyth University – as did scores of others named on this blog – and was a partner in GHP Legal in Wrexham. GHP is described as a ‘major sponsor’ of the International Eisteddfod. Gethin is the only person who has ever been Chairman of the International Eisteddfod twice, between 1992-03 and 2013-15. Readers might remember that Ronnie Waterhouse too was involved in the International Eisteddfod and was President, 1994-97.

Mervyn was succeeded as Chief Exec by another solicitor, Roger Davies, an Oxford graduate.  He died in 2013 and his obituary mentioned his ‘great service’ to the public. He retired shortly before Clwyd was dissolved in 1996. Which was probably the only possible path open to him – he had been the Director of Legal Services for Clwyd, then the County Secretary, then the Deputy Chief Exec, then was appointed Chief Exec in the middle of the police investigation into the child abuse. He was never held responsible for what happened either.

I gained a clue as to how no-one at all in Clwyd Council, except for one bottom feeding social worker, was held responsible for the biggest child abuse scandal in the UK when I read the minutes of a meeting of Denbighshire County Council (a successor authority to Clwyd) held on 7 Dec 2010. Councillor D.I. Smith was noted as having offered prayers at the commencement of the meeting. There were references to Councillor H.H. Evans winning the ‘Welsh Local Gov’t Politician Of The Year’ Award and the ‘many other awards’ recently won by the Authority. There were tributes paid to three senior officers who were retiring. One of those was Roger Parry, the Finance Chief, who had started working in (the original)Denbighshire County Council in 1971. One of Roger’s sayings was, it was noted, was ‘struggling on’. The meeting heard how Denbighshire ‘inherited’ ‘enormous debt’ at the establishment of the Unitary Authorities in 1996 (ie. after Clwyd was dissolved) and they ‘did indeed struggle’, but Roger helped turned things around. Roger was described as ‘pretty cool in a crisis’. Roger thanked the Members and the Corporate Director and said ‘in particular’ ‘in the early 1990s all had worked together well when facing problems and it was likely that similar problems would have to be faced in the future and his advice was for all to work together, bury any difficulties to deliver for the Authority’. Roger then warned them all not to touch the balance!

So not only was Clwyd host to the worst case of organised paedophilia in the UK but they’d nicked all the money as well – and not one person has ever been held accountable for any of it because they all stuck together like glue and Roger got them out of it by being cool in a crisis. Rather more cool than the kids who had been abused in Clwyd’s children’s homes who collapsed in Court whilst giving evidence and became so distressed during the Waterhouse Inquiry that Ronnie Waterhouse dismissed them as not being good witnesses. And after he retired he organised the International Eisteddfod which was held in the Pavilion which sounds very much as though it was paid for by some of the money that had disappeared from Clwyd County Council.

Before staff from the North West Wales NHS Trust perjured themselves in an attempt to have me imprisoned, someone sent a memo around asking for ‘more nurses down the police station to make statements please’ (the Angels obliged – scores of them trooped down to the cop shop to lie their arses off and although the case collapsed against me in Court not one of them was prosecuted for perverting the course of justice). Can I appeal for more former employees of Clwyd County Council down the police station please – only unlike nurses employed by Ysbyty Gwynedd they won’t have to lie about serious crime because they bloody well committed it.

 

Author: Sally Baker

I am a writer and a sociologist, originally from Somerset, but I've been based in Wales for most of my life. I had my first encounter with a mental health professional in 1984 at the age of 21. My GP described this man to my then partner - who also became a sociologist - as someone who had experienced 'considerable success'. My meeting with this psychiatrist was a disaster and we attempted to complain about his insensitivity and highly inappropriate behaviour. That was the first time we were threatened and pressurised to withdraw a complaint against a mental health professional. This man is long dead - he was a retired psychiatrist from the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, T. Gwynne Williams, who was working shifts in the student health centre at University College of North Wales (now Bangor University). We discovered years later that this 'successful man' was notorious - he had been an enthusiastic lobotomist...

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