My post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’ described how the Jillings Report was commissioned in 1994 to investigate the extent of child abuse in children’s homes managed by Clwyd County Council. Jillings uncovered such horrors that Municipal Mutual, the Council’s insurers, refused to allow the Report to be made public. It was only in 2013 that the Jillings Report was released after constant allegations that the subsequent Waterhouse Inquiry had been a cover up – although even then the Jillings Report was heavily redacted. Following Jillings, there was huge pressure for a public enquiry into events in children’s homes in north Wales as allegations of a paedophile ring involving senior public figures and police officers swirled. A number of people employed in children’s homes in north Wales had been imprisoned for offences against children and many former residents of children’s homes in north Wales had been found dead. By this time the Secretary of State for Wales was William Hague. Hague initially held out against holding a public inquiry but then buckled. In 1996 he announced that Sir Ronald Waterhouse, a judge who had just retired, would be Chairing a public inquiry into the abuse of children in the care of Clwyd and Gwynedd County Councils between 1974 and 1996. The Waterhouse Report, ‘Lost In Care’, written as a result of this Inquiry, was published in February 2000. Like Jillings, it’s findings were damning, revealing widespread abuse of children in care in north Wales. However, as soon as the Waterhouse Report was published, there were angry allegations that there had been a substantial cover-up at a very high level. Waterhouse concluded that a paedophile ring had been in operation in north Wales, but he was perceived to have ‘blamed’ everything on a few bottom feeding social care workers, rather than investigate the possibility that a number of much grander people might have been fully involved. (When one examines the background of Sir Ronald Waterhouse, it is easy to see why he would be in an excellent position and indeed be motivated to lead such a cover-up. A future blog post will be exploring the backgrounds and networks of some of the lawyers and judges named on this blog, including Ronald Waterhouse.) The Waterhouse Report is enormous and I’ve never read it from cover to cover, but I have read big chunks of it and I have been refreshing my memory over the past few days. What strikes me upon reading it is that Waterhouse managed to frequently avoid blaming the bottom feeders as well -the abuse of children was undoubtedly far worse and far more extensive than Waterhouse admitted. He seems to have disregarded huge amounts of evidence of extensive brutality and wrongdoing – this man was a JUDGE, some of what he brushed to one side or chose not to comment on was extraordinary. I will give examples later on in this post.
Waterhouse supplied details of the management structures and the backgrounds of the senior managers and managers of Gwynedd and Clwyd Councils after taking evidence from numerous witnesses. Everybody involved claimed to have no knowledge of the extensive abuse of children. It is always said of north Wales that everybody knows everybody else’s business and to a large extent that’s a fairly accurate caricature. This seems to be one reason why the idea that the arson campaign against second homes in the 70s and 80s was the work of the security services acting as agent provocateurs caught on – I was told by a number of people rooted locally that ‘no-one can do anything in north Wales without everyone knowing, but no-one knows anyone who knows anything about the fires, it is definitely not one of us doing it’. Regarding the abuse of children though, people most certainly did know that it was happening – they just weren’t openly admitting it. It was a classic case of the social anthropologist Isabel Emmett’s notion of ‘not knowing’ (please see post ‘How No-One Knew About Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’). In the same way that everybody knew that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was sexually exploiting patients, people knew that those kids were being abused. I got wind of it as a first year undergrad at Bangor University – I had no family from the region, I knew nothing about north Wales until I went to university there, but I soon found out that all was not well with the disadvantaged kids. I didn’t hear about a paedophile ring, but then laypeople didn’t tend to be obsessed with paedophiles in the early 1980s – but I did hear about ‘cruelty’. I heard more and more about it as time went by – at one point I lodged with a man who had grown up in care and I heard it from him and his girlfriend. Then I shared a house with some other young people, one of whom was a young man who’d grown up on a farm on the Llyn Peninsula. His mum had been a foster parent and the whole extended family were appalled at the lack of care and the degree of callousness shown by social workers towards the children in their care. This particular family were vey keen to care for their foster children well, but they observed that there was no help or interest from social workers at all and that they could have done pretty much anything to those kids and no-one would have asked any questions. They also told me that on the 16th birthday of the children the social workers would announce that the kids were no longer their responsibility and that was that, they wanted to hear no more about them. This particular family continued to support their foster children without the ‘input’ of the social services after they were 16. (Interestingly enough one thing that was admitted in both the Jillings and Waterhouse Reports was that ‘aftercare’ for children in care was appalling.) When I entered the mental health system I encountered many people who had grown up in ‘care’ and it was very clear that something was terribly wrong – of course the mental health services were key figures in concealing the paedophile ring, as detailed in previous posts. So if an 18 year old undergrad newly arrived in north Wales heard a few worrying things I think it highly unlikely that the managers of those ‘services’ did not know what was going on. To illustrate this further and explore how so many people were able to maintain that they ‘didn’t know’, let’s take a look at the management of Gwynedd Social Services and what they said, based on the information supplied in the Waterhouse Report – as well what I saw and heard when I lived in Gwynedd. (I’ll explore the situation in Clwyd in another post.)
Waterhouse looked at the scene from 1974 onwards, although the Jillings Report noted that they suspected that the serious abuse of children had been going on in north Wales for decades. My own knowledge of those involved with the children’s and mental health services and conversations with numerous people suggest that is indeed likely.
Let’s look at Gwynedd Social Services. Between April 1974 and September 1982, the Director of Gwynedd Social Services was T.E. Jones. He had previously held the same post in the old Local Authority area of Caernarvonshire, before the formation of Gwynedd County Council. T.E. Jones had grown up in Montgomeryshire, had no professional qualifications and no experience of child care work. He had been the County Welfare Officer in Merionethshire from 1952 to 1964 and the County Welfare Officer in Caernarvonshire for seven years after that. The Deputy Director until 1983 was David Alun Parry – he was then Assistant Director (Special Duties) until March 31 1987, when he took voluntary redundancy. Before Parry was Deputy Director of Gwynedd, he had spent three years as Director of Social Services for Anglesey. Between 1964 and 1971 he was Deputy Children’s Officer, then Children’s Officer, for Anglesey. Parry was an Aberystwyth graduate who had also undertaken Diplomas in Social Science and Applied Social Studies at the Universities of Swansea and Liverpool. He also held the Home Office Letter of Recognition in Child Care and had attended several management courses for senior officers at Liverpool University and in 1972, attended two short courses for Directors of Social Services at the Institute for Local Government Studies at Birmingham University. Below Jones and Parry, there were three Assistant Directors. The responsibilities for children were divided between Emyr Davies and G.H. Egerton. Elizabeth Hughes was the Homes Officer reporting to Emyr Davies. Egerton was responsible for five Area Officers under an Area Controller – the Senior Officer (Children) accountable to him from 1975 was Larry King. T.E. Jones maintained that Parry was incapable of carrying out his duties as his Deputy – Parry was therefore relieved of these duties, but kept his rank and was put in charge of the children’s section. T.E. Jones also maintained that Emyr Davies and Egerton were seriously ill, absent for a long time and had to retire. From February 1976 a new structure was imposed. A Principal Assistant Director of similar status to the Deputy Director was appointed – one Lucille Hughes, who had previously been an Assistant Director. For the benefit of new readers – Lucille was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was in operation in the social services but failed to act. She was also the mistress of the dreadful Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, who was illegally banging up people n the North Wales Hospital Denbigh who had complained about the mental health services or who had been molested ‘in care’. Lucille now had Emyr Davies (Elderly) and Egerton (Mental Health) under her and Parry had Larry King as Senior (later Principal) Officer (Children) under him. King retired in 1988. He had been in the Army, then in the police in England, transferring to the Colonial Police in Rhodesia. He had been a Housemaster at Bryn Estyn – the home in Clwyd which was one of the centres of the most serious abuse, where a number of staff were imprisoned for serious sexual offences. In 1969 King began work for Denbighshire County Council after qualifying for the Home Office Letter of Recognition in Child Care at Liverpool University. He was later a Senior Social Worker for Flintshire County Council and then moved to the Llandudno Area Office managed by Gwynedd County Council in 1974. From 1975 King was a Senior Officer in Gwynedd – he was redesignated as Principal Officer (Children) from 1979.
Parry’s story was that the previous incorporation of Anglesey Social Services into Gwynedd was not a happy one. He maintained that working relationships were seriously impaired and claimed that the children’s section lacked resources. From July 1981, the responsibility for the children’s section was transferred to Lucille Hughes. This transfer occurred at the same time that Gwynedd County Council’s Chief Executive Ioan Bowen Rees commissioned officials from Dyfed County Council to investigate complaints made by current and former staff regarding Y Gwyngyll community home. Furthermore in 1981, Nefyn Dodd was made responsible for all the community homes in Gwynedd. Nefyn Dodd and his wife June were accused by scores of people of the most ferocious abuse and brutality towards children. Parry was an uncritical admirer of Nefyn Dodd. Elizabeth Hughes the Homes Officer was for a long while on long term sick leave, then left and was not replaced. In the face of this chaos and mismanagement, Waterhouse commented that it was ‘commendable’ that Gwynedd provided such a level of service with ‘comparatively few’ complaints of abuse. (Waterhouse doesn’t seem to have questioned the degree of fuckwittery present and there were actually numerous complaints of abuse, many ignored by Gwynedd and others brushed aside by Waterhouse himself.)
Then in 1982, Parry had a car crash and was off for a long time. When T.E. Jones retired in 1982, Lynn Ebsworth, who had been Chief Personnel Officer, became Acting Director. Parry returned as Assistant Director (Special Duties) after May 1983. In March 1987, after ‘negotiations with his professional organisation’ Parry took voluntary redundancy and received an enhanced pension. To return to Lucille who had been responsible for children since July 1981. Lucille was an English graduate from UCNW (which later became Bangor University) and also had a Certificate in Social Sciences from Liverpool University and the Home Office Letter of Recognition in Child Care. For 13 years she had worked in the children’s departments of Cheshire and Anglesey County Councils, as a Children’s Officer in both counties and then as Deputy Director in Cheshire in 1971. She was Principal Assistant Director in Gwynedd from Feb 1976 and until July 1981 her responsibilities were principally the elderly and mental health. Assisting Lucille was Owain Gethin Evans. Gethin Evans had graduated in Social Administration from Manchester University in 1968 and obtained Diplomas in Education (1970) from Cardiff University and Social Work Studies (1974) from the LSE. He had worked as a social worker in Cheshire between 1971 and 1973. After his stint at the LSE he returned to Gwynedd as a social worker and from 1975 spent three years as a community organiser. In 1978 Gethin Evans was appointed Senior Officer (General) to assist Lucille. He was then appointed Principal Officer (Children) and was Head of the Children’s Services in 1982. In 1995 he was appointed Director of Social Services for Ceredigion County Council. Evans was the de facto Head of Children’s Services in Gwynedd, except for between 1987-1992 when he was Assistant Director (Resources and Support). Evans was also a member of Dwyfor District Council between 1976-1986 and was it’s Chairman in 1983/84.
Lynn Ebsworth was Acting Director of Social Services from May 1982-Sept 1983. Lucille Hughes was appointed Director with effect from 1 Oct 1983. Ebsworth had previously been Management Services Officer to Ioan Bowen Rees the County Secretary, and Chief Personnel Officer to the newly formed Gwynedd County Council’s first Chief Executive, D. Alun Jones. Bowen Rees succeeded D. Alun Jones as Chief Exec in 1980. Ebsworth then became accountable to Bowen Rees. Ebsworth had no previous training or experience in Social Services. Under Ebsworth was Gethin Evans, responsible for the Children’s Section but with virtually no experience of children in care. Responsible to him were Nefyn Dodd and Larry King. It was Gethin Evans who oversaw Dodd being given responsibility for all of the community homes. Extraordinarily, amidst this mess, the County Council’s Chief Exec, Ioan Bowen Rees, thought that Lucille ‘performed admirably’ as Director of Social Services. That was while she knew that a paedophile ring was in operation but failed to act. I will return to Bowen Rees later.
On 2 April 1984 a new Deputy Director of Social Services was appointed, David Glanville Owen – Gethin Evans was also short-listed for the post. Glanville was from Pwhelli and had been a trainee in the Children’s Dept in the Liverpool Corporation in 1965 after graduating in economics from Liverpool University. He then acquired a Diploma in Applied Social Studies and the Home Office Letter of Recognition in Child Care from Nottingham University by 1967. He had also worked in four English Local Authorities and for the National Children Home (NCH). He had been a senior social worker to the Assistant Director at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council.
When Glanville was applying for the Gwynedd position, he was undertaking a course in Advanced Management for Local Government at Birmingham University. He was Deputy Director of Gwynedd Social Services until the local government reorganisation, then spent 18 months as Head of Policy Unit of the new Gwynedd County Council until Sept 1997, when he was made redundant.
Being made redundant didn’t end Glanville’s substantial toxic influence in Gwynedd. By 2003 Glanville was Chief Exec of Gwynedd Community Health Council – the patients watchdog! That’s how I came across him. I approached him with my very serious complaint about the Hergest Unit – this was at a time when the madness was evident with patients dying and being hauled off to prison and people writing to politicians about the brutality and the chaos – and Glanville refused to receive me, telling me that the CHC wasn’t responsible for hospitals. I found out that this was a lie, so I returned to Glanville who then lied about telling the first lie. I submitted my complaint and for many, many months Glanville and one of his ‘officers’, a lady called Hilary, went around and around in circles. My complaint was neither investigated properly or resolved and Glanville and Hilary never managed to explain why. The last time that I saw the disgusting Glanville he was attending a meeting in his capacity as a member of the North Wales CHC. So Gwynedd is not rid of him yet.
Glanville sounds as though he was his usual slippery negligent self in his evidence to Waterhouse. He emphasised that he had never managed a community home for children or worked in one, even when he was with the NCH. As Deputy Director, he was ‘remote’ from the residential section and had not much contact with it – that was Lucille’s domain. However although Glanville claimed to know nuzzing, Waterhouse noted that almost as soon as he arrived in Gwynedd, he took up 12 points regarding the community homes in Gwynedd, including some serious allegations of staff misconduct, with Gethin Evans. Evans responded to Glanville with a memo that Waterhouse described as ‘inappropriate, complacent and discourteous’ which onbiously was ‘intended to discourage intrusion’. Glanville reorganised the Social Services Dept soon after his arrival and the responsibility for the development of Children’s Services was given to the Assistant Director, one Gethin Evans.
From 1987, the Assistant Director responsible for the Children’s Section was Rob Evans, who had been the Area Officer for Aberconwy since November 1984. Rob Evans had graduated in Social Sciences from Leicester University and obtained his CQSW in 1976. By 1984 he had acquired 10 years of management experience of social work in Northampton and Dorset and had served as a Team Manager in Dorset. In 1992, restructuring resulted in Rob Evans being appointed Assistant Director (Mental Health) – Waterhouse notes that Evans ‘left local government’ in March 1996. It was in his capacity as Assistant Director that I encountered Rob in the mid 90s. As a result of the constant aggro that I was receiving from the delightful Arfon Community Mental Health Team (please see previous posts), Rob was called in to sort it out. I had a truly bizarre meeting with him in which he made no comments about the law-breaking and perjury and constant aggression of the Arfon Team, but instead offered a discourse on ‘changing practice’ in social work. As an example he explained that when he used to take children to children’s homes he used to take their shoes away to stop them running away. He said that the children hated him for taking them to the homes but he knew that he was doing the right thing. A couple of years ago, some of the interviews that some of the former residents of north Wales children’s homes gave to the police in the criminal trials were made public. Some of the witnesses explained that they ran away after they were molested by members of the paedophile ring but someone took their shoes away after that to prevent them escaping. Many years after my own encounter with Rob, my lawyers obtained the documents that he had compiled after he had met me to discuss the Arfon Team and their activities. Rob had noted that he had met Keith Fearns, the psychopath who was the ‘leader’ of the Arfon Team and asked him what he wanted done with me. Fearns had replied ‘lock her up’. Rob had told him that wasn’t possible. Fearns had replied once more ‘lock her up’. Rob had noted that the situation was unresolvable and that he was leaving his post tomorrow anyway. Waterhouse was wrong about Rob – he didn’t leave local government in 1996. After no-one had been held to account for the rape and battery of hundreds of children over many years, Rob resurfaced again – as Head of Community Services on Anglesey! Waterhouse noted that in his evidence, Rob had told him that he wasn’t a fluent Welsh speaker and he considered that his chances of an appropriate ‘senior’ position were virtually zero. So it’s good to know that Anglesey found a home for him. The last time that I saw Rob I tried to ask him about his activities regarding Fearns many years ago. Rob told me that I was ‘arrassin’ him and if I didn’t stop he’d call the police. Rob often seemed to find himself the line manager of thugs – he was responsible for Larry King and Nefyn Dodd until his job changed and he was then overseeing dear old Fearns.
Rob had an interesting interpretation of Fearns and co’s threats, harassment and aggression though. In his evidence to Waterhouse, Rob maintained that because a Health Advisory Service Inspection in 1986 had been ‘very critical’ of mental health services in Gwynedd, Rob had made mental health a priority and the community mental health services had now been recognised as among the best in Europe! I’d love to know who ‘recognised’ them as such. The only people with knowledge of social work and mental health services in other parts of Europe that I knew who had contact with the thugs and liars that were employed by Lucille et al were a team of German social scientists who had a link with Bangor University. I worked with them myself and they were a nice lot – but they had no idea at all how patients were being treated because their contact was with the thugs and liars themselves who never fessed up that they were facilitating a paedophile ring. They just met up with the Germans for nibbles and drinks and no doubt told them that the services had been recognised as the best in Europe. But then idiots in north Wales were a bit obsessed with Europe in those days. Dr Dafydd Alun Jones kept appearing in the local press described as ‘Europe’s leading forensic psychiatrist’. He wasn’t even a forensic psychiatrist.
Larry King retired in 1988 and was replaced by Peter James Hibbs. Hibbs had grown up in Colwyn Bay and graduated in sociology from the South Bank Poly in 1973. He had been an Education Welfare Officer in ILEA (Inner London Education Authority) for four years, then completed his CQSW at UCNW (Bangor University) and also gained a Diploma in Social Studies. In Dec 1979 Hibbs joined Gwynedd as a member of the Child Care Team at the Anglesey Area Office and was promoted to senior social worker in Nov 1985. When Nefyn Dodd retired from the post of Principal Officer (Residential Services) in May 1990, Hibbs took over. Hibbs himself encountered serious personal difficulties and became ill with severe depression – he was deemed by a Medical Officer to be unable continue working after December 1990 and formally retired in Jan 1993. However, at the time of giving evidence to Waterhouse, he had been working since November 1995 as a Senior Practitioner at the Family Centre, Rhyl, run by NCH. Hibbs stated that he used to see Rob Evans about once a week, but was ‘uncertain’ whether Rob grasped ‘child protection issues’, he was more of a ‘mental health specialist’ no less.
Hibbs had been responsible to Gethin Evans and when Hibbs retired he was replaced by Dafydd Ifans. Ifans had worked in the North Wales Probation Services for the last ten years after obtaining his CQSW at Cartrefle College as well as an OU degree. Prior to that he’d been in the Army for fifteen years after leaving school at fifteen to join as an Army apprentice. He then worked as a manager for ASDA for two years. Ifans worked in Gwynedd until 31 December 1995, when he was then appointed as Service Manager for the Children and Families Services for Conwy County Borough Council. During his nearly three years as a Principal Officer, Ifans was responsible for line managing three community homes in Gwynedd.
I have deliberately given a lot of details regarding the managers of Gwynedd Social Services to demonstrate a number of points. Firstly, the degree of conflict that obviously existed between some of them. Secondly, the number of people that were falling apart at the seams themselves – a lot of people were on long-term sick leave or being deemed incapable of fulfilling their duties. This is a key sign of an organisation in trouble but judging from the chunks of the Waterhouse Report that I’ve read so far, Waterhouse doesn’t seem to have taken on board the significance of this. One inescapable theme is how many of these people had connections with each other, or had been circulating around the system for some time. During the 80s and 90s, if one was English and living in Gwynedd, one heard constant allegations that Gwynedd County Council was a ‘closed shop’ and that ‘they only employ their friends and their relatives’. There does seem to have been an awful lot of that going on – but another allegation that English people frequently made was ‘none of them have ever been out of Gwynedd’. Judging from the previous account that is very obviously not true. They had all had stints of studying or working elsewhere – or moving on elsewhere after presiding over the horror that was Gwynedd children’s services. But as far as I can see that is simply more terrifying. That lot had a well-established network that will have been affording them protection and as I have previously argued it stretched far and wide, into England as well. A number of them had also worked in places where it is now known that there was a problem with the organised abuse of children eg. Cheshire, Leicester and inner London. Again and again I was told that the problems in north Wales re the children’s services and mental health services was ‘just north Wales’. It was not. It surfaced in north Wales and ‘outsiders’ were always suspicious and curious because they were very obviously excluded on the grounds of language and it was easy for them to conjure up spectres of cave-dwelling sheep shaggers who molest the kids and burn English peoples houses down. But the vile ones had mates next door in England and had an established network to assist them. Some of them also had connections to the police and the Army…
Among all the detail supplied in the Waterhouse Report regarding Gwynedd Social Services, there is a glaring omission. Waterhouse mentions in passing a ‘child protection officer’ who was working under Gethin Evans. In a region where children were being abused by a paedophile ring and having the living daylights battered out of them by the likes of Nefyn Dodd and were being half-starved and used as free labour by ‘foster parents’, the child protection officer would be a fairly crucial member of the team. Yet they are not named and there is no reference to their evidence in the Waterhouse Report. Were they fast asleep on the job or simply terrified? Or had someone decided that they didn’t want to hear evidence from them? Or had Waterhouse heard their evidence and decided not to mention it? There was something else that he passed by with barely a comment. When he ‘reviewed’ the evidence against Nefyn and June Dodd, as well as ignoring scores of complaints of brutality – and a few of sexual abuse – against the Dodds and the people whom they employed in the community home that they ran in Bangor, Waterhouse mentions a complaint from someone referred to as X, against the Dodds. Waterhouse acknowledges that a letter of ‘dubious authenticity’ allegedly signed by X was sent from Risley Remand Centre to Lucille Hughes expressing support for the Dodds. But Waterhouse accepted that X didn’t write this and so he disregarded it! So someone in Risley Remand Centre forged a letter from X and sent it to Lucille Hughes, supporting the Dodds, when the Dodds were under investigation for abusing children. And Waterhouse barely bats an eyelid. But then someone forged a letter from me and sent it to the GMC after I complained about Dr Tony Roberts (please see post ‘The General Medical Council And Yet Another Forged Document’). Someone forged a certificate of indictment saying that I’d been found guilty of ‘violent disorder’ at Caernarfon Crown Court when I hadn’t (please see post ‘An Update On Those Legal Conundrums’). It’s good to know that I wasn’t being singled out – forging documents is obviously an everyday pastime of health and welfare folk in the face of complaints about the health and social care services. How many more forged documents are there sitting in files in the wake of caring staff having been cleared of serious wrongdoing after the plebs of this parish dared complain about them?
And therein lies the key. For the most part, the people on the receiving end of this bunch of scumbags were indeed the plebs. They were people with long-term mental health problems, drug/alcohol problems, kids in care, various dispossessed or disadvantaged people. They also often had criminal records, because as I have detailed previously on this blog, if you complained about that bunch of bastards they stitched you up for crimes that everyone knew that you hadn’t done so they could then dismiss your complaints as coming from a ‘criminal’ and therefore not to be believed. Because I constantly had the most dreadful encounters with the ‘services’ and then more dreadful encounters with officious lying shits like Glanville Owen when I tried to raise concerns about them, for many years I gained the impression that Gwynedd and Clwyd Councils must be run by daft old buggers who had worked their way up from jobs as admin assistants when they were 16 and who did not know their arses from their elbows. Some people did equate to this stereotype – namely Alun Davies, the manager of the Hergest Unit, who could hardly string a coherent sentence together – but let’s have a look at those at the very top of the tree in Gwynedd County Council, the successive Chief Executives who oversaw this horror. So how dim and uninformed were they?
The Chief Execs of Gwynedd County Council for the period of time reviewed by Waterhouse were: David Alun Jones, 1974-1980; Ioan Bowen Rees, 1980-1991; Huw Vaughan Thomas, 1991-1996.
David Alun Jones was a solicitor, the Deputy Clerk (1952-1961), then Clerk of Denbighshire County Council for 13 years. He read law at Aberystwyth University, then held posts as a solicitor in Ilford, Southampton, Berkshire and Surrey before Denbighshire. After his stint as Chief Exec at Gwynedd, he was the Commissioner for Local Administration in Wales for the next five years until his retirement in 1985. His evidence to the Waterhouse Tribunal revolved around the theme of how financially poor the area of Gwynedd was. It was stated that T.E. Jones, the Director of Social Services, didn’t discuss problems regarding children or the community homes with Alun Jones and Waterhouse stated that he had no reason to think that Alun Jones was aware of the complaints. Alun Jones was consulted by the Director of Social Services regarding the alleged failings of Parry, the Deputy Director of Social Services, in approx. 1974. Alun Jones thought that Parry’s services should be dispensed with, but the Chairman of the Social Services Committee, formerly of Anglesey County Council (I presume this will have been Councillor Eric Davies) thought that Parry should be given responsibility for children’s services and this was the view that prevailed. So they handed children’s services over to a man whom they seemed to be in dispute with and whom they maintained could not do his job. Did Alun Jones not think this was a little high risk? Alun Jones was a lawyer – presumably not completely stupid. But look at his background – all those years as a legal advisor to Denbighshire County Council. The North Wales Hospital was on his patch – he was there whilst Gwynne the lobotomist and Dafydd were in action. He will have known about the problems out there and what was alleged to have been happening. I note that Alun Jones read law at Aber – it has always been maintained that one factor preventing the true extent of the child abuse in north Wales becoming public was rampant corruption among lawyers in the region. A previous post of mine looking at corruption in the region noted how many people who had been implicated were law graduates from Aber (see post ‘Updates, Common Themes And News, May 5 2017’).
Ioan Bowen Rees was Chief Exec for much of the time under review by Waterhouse, ie. 1980-1991. It was during this time that the complaints and allegations of child abuse came thick and fast, when Alison Taylor the social worker who blew the whistle on it all first raised concerns within the social services and, when she was dismissed in the wake of doing so, went very public indeed, contacting the media as well as Ministers, including Margaret Thatcher. So one would have that Ioan might have noticed that something was amiss. Ioan was a from a local family and had grown up in Dolgellau. His father was a teacher there and his mother had been one of the first women graduates from UCNW (Bangor University). Ioan went to school in Dolgellau and won a scholarship to Oxford to read modern history. So not only did he know the area but he was no fool. He decided to become a solicitor and did his articles with – the Clerk of Denbighshire County Council! Well where else? Waterhouse states that Ioan Bowen Rees was admitted as a solicitor in 1956 – so one presumes that he was doing his articles when his predecessor as Chief Exec Alun Jones worked as the Deputy Clerk of Denbighshire County Council. Bowen Rees then served in local government in Lancashire, Cardiff and Pembrokeshire, as Deputy Clerk to the County Council. Waterhouse mentions that Bowen Rees was ‘well-known’ outside Gwynedd. He certainly was. Bowen Rees died some years ago and his obituaries tell us a lot about him. He stood for election as a Plaid candidate in Conway in 1955 and 1959 and in Methyr Tydfil in 1964. Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was involved in Plaid during those years and stood for election for Denbigh in 1959 and 1964. Another reason why Bowen Rees will have known Dafydd then. That’s the Dafydd whose mistress was Lucille Hughes. The Dafydd who illegally banged people up in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh if they complained about the childrens services or the mental health services. In 1973, Bowen Rees became the County Secretary of the newly formed Dyfed County Council. Bowen Rees was considered something of an authority on local government and won the Haldane Medal from the Royal Institution for Public Administration for his 1971 publication ‘Government By Community’, which was described by Max Beloff as ‘essential reading’. This is the Conservative peer Max Beloff, the father of Michael Beloff QC. Michael Beloff was the lawyer who advised Municipal Mutual, Clwyd County Council’s insurers, to suppress the Jillings Report! Bowen Rees was awarded an honorary LLD by the University of Wales in 1997. He was a member of the Gorsedd of the Bards – as was Dafydd and so many others mentioned in previous blog posts. He advised the Association of County Councils and was Chair of the Society of Local Chief Executives. He was described by the TLS as ‘one of the old breed of highly educated, civilised public servants’. My co-researcher made the following observation of Bowen Rees – ‘Oxford, Plaid, Gorsedd, Gwynedd County Council – he’s got a full house’. Bingo indeed.
In his evidence to Waterhouse, Bowen Rees stated that there was a ‘difficulty’ because Gwynedd Council had no overall leader and that the financial situation through the 1980s left one with a feeling of ‘helplessness’. It was stated that Bowen Rees was more ‘interventionist’ in the Social Services than his predecessor. He was told of complaints and he therefore ordered an enquiry and a report to be conducted by officers of Dyfed County Council – whom he will have known well because he had previously been County Secretary of Dyfed. It was during Bowen Rees’s time as Chief Exec that Gwynedd saw many children in their care ‘boarded out’ (often, it was alleged, to the care of very unsuitable people). Gwynedd had the highest proportion of children boarded out in Wales and the second highest proportion in Great Britain. But Bowen Rees explained to Waterhouse that it saved the Council a great deal of money. Bowen Rees had taken a particular interest in the complaints of Alison Taylor. He told Waterhouse that he had ‘very little recollection of events surrounding the police investigation’ (thank goodness his memory didn’t let him down like that at Oxford or when he was winning medals, it just went a bit flaky when his Council was investigated by the police in the wake of allegations of a paedophile ring), but he knew that he’d asked Lucille to get in touch with him when investigation was over.(Nuffin’ to do with me Guv, I’m only the Chief Exec.) Luciile was described as being ‘over the moon’ when she told him that the police would not be taking proceedings against anyone and that there was ‘no substance’ to the allegations of abuse. Bowen Rees was satisfied that no disciplinary proceedings would have to be taken against any Council officers without talking to Lucille, because he’d talked to senior police officers. (Regular readers will remember that among the allegations of child abuse in north Wales were those that police were involved. A former senior police officer from the North Wales Police, Gordon Anglesea, was last year imprisoned for molesting children in care in north Wales.) Bowen Rees told Waterhouse that he had not been aware of Nefyn Dodd’s dual role in the management of children’s services and had been told that Alison Taylor was ‘worse than a troublemaker’. He thought that poor old Lucille had been ‘unfortunate’ in her Chairman of the Social Services Committee in the 1980s, as he was ‘wilful’ and tolerated only because of his war record. Which is quite a surprising thing for Bowen Rees to have said really, because the rest of us are of the opinion that Eric Davies did Lucille some pretty big favours – he spat poison in the direction of Alison Taylor, carried out a character assassination of her and ensured that she was sacked after she blew the whistle on child abuse in Gwynedd.
Even just the information supplied above suggests that Bowen Rees knew that there was cause for concern in the children’s services which he was paid to run. But there’s another reason why Bowen Rees would have known about the misery and suffering that his children’s services inflicted upon local people as those services worked hand in hand with his mental health services. Because he lived in a hill village near Bethesda where an awful lot of the casualties of Lucille and Dafydd resided. I know because I too lived there for years. At the same time as Bowen Rees. I and the others who had been shafted by Bowen Rees’s ‘services’ mostly lived in the main part of the village, comprised of 19th century quarrymans cottages. Bowen Rees lived near us – but not in our terraces. No, Bowen Rees resided in splendour in an enormous house shielded from our view by beech trees, down a long lane. (However, his widow does now live in the village square, but in one of the most desirable houses there.) Bowen Rees was described by his mates Jim Perrin and Meic Stephens in their obituaries of him as a ‘leftwing nationalist’, an ‘internationalist’, ‘with a philosophy of localism’, who believed in ‘the centrality of [the citizens] voice in determining policies’ and whose observations on mountaineering – which Bowen Rees enjoyed – included that ‘the early mountaineers didn’t concern themselves with the activity of a lower class’. Jim Perrin stated that Bowen Rees ‘firmy identified with that lower class’. That’s funny Jim, because I got the distinct impression that he didn’t give a fuck about them. Except perhaps at election time. I was amused to see in one of Ioan’s obituaries the comment that he ‘enjoyed the close community spirit’ of the village where we all lived. Wondering if I’d somehow missed all the occasions on which Ioan hung out in the village pub or in the canolfan or purchased his stamps from the Post Office, yesterday I rang one of my former neighbours to ask her if she ever remembered socialising with Ioan. Now this was not a neighbour who was one of the dispossessed being screwed over by Ioan and his staff. This is someone who is a retired teacher, whose husband is a retired teacher (and he graduated with a First as well), who have lived in that village for decades, who both learnt Welsh to a very high standard, who do know quite a few public figures and who are acquainted with pretty much everyone around. She replied that she knew OF the Bowen Rees’s and his wife ‘is very pleasant but they are a bit above and beyond the reach of the rest of us’. The man of the common people! Bowen Rees’s obituaries also stated that when he was young, he was regularly consulted by Gwynfor Evans, the President of Plaid (I think that he also co-authored with Gwynfor Evans) and was subsequently consulted by Dafydd Wigley, the MP for Caernarfon. Who definitely knew about the havoc in the mental health services because I wrote to him about it – and I can’t really believe that he didn’t ever hear about what Lucille and co were up to either.
I’ll outline a few things that were going on in the village where Bowen Rees actually lived. There was a severely mentally ill homeless man who for some months literally lived on the playing field, completely psychotic, whilst his neighbours begged for help from the mental health services to no avail. There was another severely mentally ill man who was living in a derelict schoolhouse with an open fire inside and about nine dogs – both the police and his neigbours begged the Arfon Mental Health Team to assist him. They didn’t. This went on for many months until a relative of his was traced and she arranged for a religious order to look after him in another region. One of my neighbours up there was a young man who whose mother had killed herself when he was a child – he used to scavenge in bins for food and by the time that he was a teenager he had developed a drink problem and mental health problems. He was violent and a nuisance when he was pissed but to be fair to him, he went down to the GPs surgery in Bethesda for help with his ‘nerves’. No help was forthcoming from the GPs let alone the mental health team. There was a whole family of adults who had been on the receiving end of such serious sexual and physical abuse whilst they were children that one of them was an elective mute and another one was in the ‘care’ of the mental health services – he became destitute when the day centre at the Hergest Unit was shut down, on the orders of the Arfon Team. There was a single parent who was such a hopeless drunk that her 10 year old daughter was looking after her, the house and her younger brother – who was displaying sexually abusive behaviour himself after being exposed to sexual activity from his father. There were also the people whom I discussed in my post ‘It’s All About Protecting Children’ – in which two fathers were denied access to their own children by Gwynedd Social Services and one of those children was instead handed over to people with a known record of abusing children themselves. There was the family who had been swindled out of their inheritance and left to rot by a number of crooked lawyers and doctors, who were also refused help from the Arfon Team (please see post ‘A Trade In People – Between London and North Wales’). There were two other men displaying what a social worker (well one who knew what they were doing) would describe as sexually inappropriate behaviour who had been in the ‘care’ of Gwynedd Social Services as children. There was another family whose daughter had been removed from them and had been handed over to Gwynedd Social Services for her ‘protection’ who was wrecked after her encounters with the children’s and mental health services. There was also a little girl being fostered at weekends to give her mother who lived in the neighbouring village ‘respite’. That little girl’s mother had held Alun Davies the manager of the Hergest Unit hostage at knife point in her house and he had to be freed in a police operation. No charges were ever brought against her because Davies had unlawfully accessed her medical records, removed them from the hospital and gone out to see her without anyone’s permission or indeed even telling anyone. He would have been in much trouble himself if anyone had discovered what he had done, therefore his ordeal as a hostage was ignored.
What a record of achievement! Give that man another medal. Bowen Rees drove past these people on his way to work every day – whilst they waited for the bus. Lest any readers think that poor old Bowen Rees just wasn’t mixing in the right circles to hear the accounts of the ‘service users’, there were some people in that village who had worked in his children’s homes and left, appalled at the abuse that they witnessed. I knew three of these people – they all told me that they had witnessed young people being abused. They didn’t witness sexual abuse but they witnessed physical abuse and one of them described Nefyn Dodd to me as a ‘total fascist’. The other two people had worked in the home where Alison Taylor had initially reported abuse and told me that as well as being on the receiving end of ‘cruelty’, the teenaged boys in the home were being forced to work for no pay in the black economy. They boys expressed fear of physical violence from social workers if they refused this work.
But something else was happenining in that village as Ioan Bowen Rees managed to not see what was happening on his doorstep. Something that he most certainly knew about. Lucille Hughes’s henchmen from the Arfon Team were perjuring themselves in Chester Crown Court in an attempt to have me imprisoned. They were being coached and advised in this by Lucille, Hywel Ellis Hughes the County Secretary and Solicitor, and Ron Evans, his sidekick. I have the documents to prove it and described it in detail in my post ‘Some Big Legal Names Enter The Arena’. Ioan will have known about all that because Gwynedd County Council were spending a fortune trying to have me (and a few other patients) imprisoned and he will have had to sign something off. I bet he knew my address as well, because I was being served with Court documents at home. So Ioan knew that I was a neighbour! Where was his much boasted about community spirit? Oh – the other thing that happened whilst I lived in the same village as Ioan was that someone tried to set fire to my house. Twice. Another memorable feature of the village was the phone box. Ioan won’t have used it because he’ll have had a landline and a mobile as well, but a lot of people in that village didn’t have a phone so there was often a queue at that phone box. That phone box lives on in my memory for one reason – it was the phone box that was used by a mental health patient who lived in that village who repeatedly rang Crimestoppers and reported the law-breaking and abuse of named staff of the mental health services and the thugs that they were using to distribute drugs and intimidate patients who complained. There wasn’t an investigation. Ioan probably had a few words with his friends in the police again like he did after Alison Taylor blew the whistle.
Ioan will not have been able to have missed the reality of the lives of the people in that village no matter how fast he drove past them. Because his own son went to school with some of those kids who had been so badly neglected and abused. Ioan’s son went to Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen and is now famous – he is Gruff Rhys from the rock band the Superfurry Animals. He and his mates used to practice their music in the hall at the end of the terrace where I used to live. Ioan was known to be passionate about the Welsh language and is on record as saying that we speak Welsh ‘for the sake of our children’. I’m all for bilingual children as well, but whilst Ioan’s son was learning Welsh and becoming a rock star there were a number of other children who were being beaten, buggered and raped in the ‘service’ for which Ioan was paid handsomely to provide.
Ioan’s glorious career didn’t stop after he stood down from the Chief Exec’s role after the police investigation which exonerated the whole bloody lot of them. No, Ioan was a passionate believer in devolution and was a member of the working party that advised Ron Davies the Secretary of State for Wales regarding the creation of the National Assembly of Wales. Who knows, Ioan would probably have gone on to become President of the World, but he died (Waterhouse observed that he was very sad about this) in 1999. Months before the publication of the Waterhouse Report. So if any lesser gifted and less well-connected creatures than Ioan feared that Waterhouse was actually going to admit the enormity of what had gone on and that Ioan would get himself out of the ordure by landing them right in it, they need not have worried. Ioans’s memories have been taken to the grave with him.
The Story of Ioan reminds me very much of the work of the Welsh Labour historians who were busy in the 1970s and 80s. They pissed a lot of people off because they maintained that the exploitation of the Welsh labourers in the quarries and other industries involved an enormous degree of collusion from the Welsh middle classes who also exploited the labourers and did very well for themselves out of this, but who had successfully rewritten their part in history and framed themselves as defenders of language and nation. I think it was in Jim Perrin’s obituary of Ioan Bowen Rees that there was a reference to the refreshing Ioan in contrast to the English bourgeoisie who colonised the land conservation societies… the noble Ioan who lived in his Plas shielded by beech trees so as to avoid the prying eyes of the people whom he was shafting whilst they lived in poverty…
After the People’s Champ and Defender of the Nation left his post as Chief Exec of Gwynedd County Council, Huw Vaughan Thomas took over. Huw was originally from mid-Glamorgan, read modern history at Durham University, acquired a Masters in Administrative Sciences from City University and entered the civil service. He worked in the Department of Employment and bodies associated with it and was the Private Secretary to two Ministers of Employment. He then lead the Manpower Services Commission’s employment rehabilitation programme for disabled people. In May 1988 he moved to Wales as Director of Training Agency, Wales. He was Chief Executive of Denbighshire County Council for six years – of course he was, it seems obligatory to do a stint with them if you’re going to preside over a major child abuse scandal. Huw told Waterhouse that the allocation of resources in Gwynedd County Council owed much to history and political considerations rather than assessment of need and the Council’s image was one of ‘fortress Gwynedd’ with a single issue of the language agenda. (I rather suspect that might have been the smokescreen that Ioan created to detract from rather more serious problems.) For most of the first three years of Huw’s tenure, there was a police investigation of Gwynedd’s children’s homes. Alison Taylor wrote to Huw shortly before an HTV programme about the abuse in north Wales in Sept 1991, requesting a meeting to discuss the ill-treatment of children. He ‘took advice’ – we are not told from whom – and he said that she should get in touch with him if she had any new matters not already investigated to report. Alison wrote again asking for a meeting regarding the extensive dossier that he had prepared relating to the abuse of children. Huw declined to meet her on the advice of the Council’s legal officers and the Chief Constable. That will have been at about the same time that those legal officers were pursuing me through the Courts for ludicrous offences such as ‘staring at a social worker in Safeways’ or more serious offences that I had not committed.
So how did Huw fare once he stopped being the Chief Exec of Gwynedd in 1996? Well he was the Assistant National Secretary of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and he has also been on exchanges with Chief Execs in Tasmania and New Zealand (Christ he’s gone global.) In 2001 he was appointed the Director and Principal Consultant for Taro Consulting Ltd. He was a member of the Richards Commission into the powers and electoral arrangements of the National Assembly of Wales 2002-2004, he’s Chaired the Big Lottery Fund and served on the Parole Board for England and Wales (it really is unbelievable isn’t it). He’s a Board member for the Institute of Welsh Affairs, for the North Wales Training and Enterprise Council, a member of HEFCW, of the Law Society Council, of the Hearing Aid Council and the Olympic Lottery Distributer. His voluntary activities include involvement in two charities for deaf people, a member of the National Trust Committee for Wales, of the Princes Trust and the Chair of Plas Glyn Y Weddw Arts Centre.
Concealed a paedophile gang? Come this way Sir, we’d just love to have you on our Board.
The jewel in the crown was that on July 2010 Huw was recommended for the post of Auditor General of Wales by the National Assembly of Wales. HM the Queen herself appointed him from October 2010. He now oversees 20 billion quid of taxpayers money. His wife Enid is the Chair of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and a member of the BUPA council. His son Owain is a trainee – at the Wales Audit Office.
Once more, I can only repeat what the residents of Ioan Bowen Rees’s village used to say when they were screwed over once more by Gwynedd County Council in some way – Jesus Christ.
There is an ancient Bela Lugosi film that used to cause merriment among film and media students because it was thought to be so ridiculous. I was told that it contained a scene where Bela looms up out of a churchyard and says ‘It’s murder – and somebody’s responsible’. Well for years children in the care of Gwynedd County Council were beaten, kicked, forced to lick Nefyn Dodd’s shoes, used as slave labour, sexually molested, kept short of food and/or abandoned. And nobody was responsible at all. The only person who lost their job was Alison Taylor.